How an Engineer is Helping to Revolutionize Mattress Manufacturing

Matt Smallwood peeks up from his computer monitor, breaking an afternoon trance from designing in SolidWorks. “Would you like to see what I’ve been working on for two years?” he asks.

And so, we leave his office and walk down to the shop floor to see the new Gribetz XT9 Stitch Bridge machine. Matt, a Research Engineer for L&P’s Global Systems Group (GSG), started in his role in 2011.

One of the challenges with this project was finding needles long enough to pierce through foam. The team got creative and made their own.

As he talks through the functionality of the machine, he quickly redirects any praise and instead highlights the collaborative efforts of the team. “I’ve learned so much from Michael James, our resident sewing expert, and Terry Myers, who led the project. This machine wouldn’t have been built without them.”

What is the Gribetz XT9 Stitch Bridge machine?

It’s a thread-based laminating machine introduced just this year by Gribetz International. In an industry accustomed to gluing together mattress comfort layers, this machine stitches them together with thread. Not only is thread more cost-effective than glue, it’s a better-quality product.

Additionally, thread-based laminations require less effort to de-construct when recycled, so the machine promotes environmental friendliness.

Matt and his colleagues have spent many months designing, prototyping, and testing. “As you can imagine, foam comes in all varieties,” says Matt. “It can be dense or porous, for example. As we worked with the prototype, we had to make sure it ran properly with unique types of foam.”

Matt runs a sample of foam through the prototype of the Gribetz XT9 Stitch Bridge machine.

So, what’s next?

Matt uses a special tool to set the height of the needles on the machine.

With the XT9 Stitch Bridge machine just recently unveiled at Interzum in Cologne, Germany (a leading trade fair for furniture production), the team is excited about positive feedback they’ve received.

“I’ve been eager to demo the machine for customers,” Matt says, “because it truly has so many thoughtful features that make it one-of-a-kind.”

This alternative to glue machines is poised to become the next “big” thing in mattress manufacturing!