New Age Caravans

New Age Caravans aren’t the biggest manufacturer of recreational vehicles but are amongst the best in terms of quality and customer service. To manufacture a superior product, consistently meeting the expectations of customers while supporting continuous innovation, New Age Caravans turned to Biesse for a CNC processing centre with onboard edge banding.

Customer: New Age Caravans
City: Epping, Victoria
Country: Australia
Product: ROVER B EDGE

All on the Same Page

New Age Caravans operate out of two sites in the Northern Melbourne suburb of Epping in Victoria. Manufacturing caravans for a continually changing market ideally requires senior executives to work closely with production management to ensure the manufacturing equipment is not only able to keep up with demand but provides the company with scope to build a better, more functional, and appealing product with reduced operating costs. As New Age Caravans moves forward, their equipment needs to reflect their progressive values and so, early this year they installed a new Biesse Rover B 1684 edge CNC processing centre.

There was no hesitation when David Lawrence, New Age Caravans Site Manufacturing Manager recommended a new Biesse Rover B edge to his senior management; an endorsement based on many years working with Biesse equipment in Australia and New Zealand. David said, “For this technology we went straight to Biesse Group, we stuck with the people we know and trust.” New Age Caravans Caravan’s General Manager for Sales and Marketing, Darren Swenson said, “Manufacturing locally has allowed us to build solid relationships with companies like Biesse Group that understand Australia’s caravan industry.”

David said, “At the moment the caravan industry is exceedingly busy. Due to the recent pandemic, people are staying home, and a caravan is for many, the ideal way to travel in comfort and freedom. For us here at New Age Caravans, advance orders are extremely high, so we’re under some pressure to keep our production moving and efficient. It’s not the best time to put a new machine into our production line, especially one as advanced as our Biesse Edge, but the people at Biesse Group understand our business and pulled out all stops to get us up and running as fast as possible. They were great.”

New Age Caravans: Photo 1

A New Age Caravans of Innovation

Basic CNC equipment is used widely in the recreational vehicle industry but there is often work that still needs to be done by hand, particularly on parts with rounded corners. Using basic equipment, these parts need to be edge banded by hand, a time-consuming and sometimes challenging process. The Rover B edge is an advanced technology double spindle 4-axis machine eliminating all hand edge banding on any radius down to 30mm. It has allowed David to re-design many of their cabinets with rounded, more fluid edges, and vastly improve the look and functionality of New Age Caravans interiors that is best described as ‘modern apartment style aesthetic.’

Over the last two years at the New Age Caravans cabinet shop, David has reduced the number of Basic CNC machines from six to two. David works closely with New Age Caravans senior management to ensure that any new equipment is able to increase output, reduce hand work and provide the expertise to further improve an already superior product. New Age Caravans management recognise that the flexibility, ease of use and recognised performance of new equipment is key to achieving their ambitious goals. David Says, “Up to 30% of our recreational vehicles are special order so our machinery needs to be easy and quick to set up. We make a lot of individual parts and the Biesse bSuite software reduces what looks like a complicated task, to a few mouse clicks. But probably the best part is that I can simulate the job before it goes to the machine so there are no mistakes, no crashes and our production is uninterrupted.”

One of the major needs for New Age Caravans was the ability to use PUR adhesive for their edge banding. David opted for an external PUR adhesive melter to simplify the use of moisture-cure reactive polyurethane (PUR) hot melt adhesives. The melt-on-demand process uses only the adhesive needed, reduces thermal stress, and protects bonding characteristics of the unused PUR. David also opted for a blower to clean swarf from the trimming units on their large machine, capable of accommodating a 2.4 metre sheet on either end of the bed. To test the strength of the PUR, David took their very first edged panel and put it a week outside in all weather, a week in a freezer and a third week on his windowsill in the January heat. His verdict: perfect!

The Experience

The customer experience with a significant investment like an RV is especially important to New Age Caravans. Likewise, the experience of purchasing and installing such a pivotal machine as the Biesse Rover B edge was important to New Age Caravans. David said, “We have other machines from Biesse Group, and we are incredibly happy with them. We knew what we were getting but for a key machine such as a processing centre with on-board edge banding, we needed to partner with a company we knew we could rely on and Biesse Group did not let us down.”

“Biesse took samples of our product to demonstrate to us we were making the right choice of machine, and to give us the confidence we needed to put in such a decisive machine in one of our busiest times. Biesse have a lot of experts who were able to match New Age Caravans’ needs with the right machine. To be honest, with our current volume I could use another machine, just like the Rover B edge,” said David. New Age Caravans now has the confidence with their new Biesse investment to explore the potential weight savings with advanced materials, something Biesse and Walkinshaw Automotive Group, the new owners of New Age Caravans, knows a lot about.

David broached the subject of a new, advanced CNC machine to meet future demands late 2019 and placed an order in July last year. Incredibly, their machine was built to order and delivered in less than six months! Arriving in two containers, it took several weeks to assemble the machine and with only a week of training, David, and James; the primary machine operator, were ‘off and running’ manufacturing parts, re-designing existing components, and developing new product. James had used CNC machines before but nothing like the Rover B edge. However, after only a month or so, he is able to handle the most complex work.

The Journey Continues

Walkinshaw Automotive Group is renowned for their high-performance and luxury GMH vehicles. Walkinshaw; an Australian icon, have integrated their unprecedented automotive expertise in engineering, design, and manufacturing to introduce new levels of innovation and know-how in manufacturing chassis for the RV industry. The installation of the Rover B edge will enable David and his team to explore the same level of innovation with New Age Caravans RV cabinetry. New Age Caravans does not take half measures in their processes and their choice of Biesse production machinery reflects their progressive values.

Joseph Lucas, New Age Caravans Marketing Co-Ordinator said, “We are passionate about Research and Development. Every stage of our product’s building process has been planned and pre-determined to ensure the highest standard of quality and efficiency.” David agrees, “Before we received our Biesse Rover edge, our production was like every other manufacturer of recreational vehicles. We now have the opportunity to be different, to innovate and offer our customers a better, more functional, and appealing product. Walkinshaw, New Age Caravans and Biesse; we’re all on the same page.”

Before we received our Biesse Rover edge, our production was like every other manufacturer of recreational vehicles. We now have the opportunity to be different, to innovate and offer our customers a better, more functional, and appealing product. Walkinshaw, New Age Caravans and Biesse; we’re all on the same page.”
David Lawrence Site Manufacturing Manager
David Lawrence
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