Software and Machinery a Natural Choice
For 20 of their 24 years of operation Darrin McFarlane and Warren Smith of Kitchencraft had been making kitchens in the traditional way, with a panel saw and edgebander. Four years ago they began to look around at the options available in terms of introducing software turned out to be a bit of a natural choice, with excellent results.
Kitchencraft manufacture across the kitchen making, cabinetry and furniture spectrum mostly mid to upper end. For much of their life that has involved hand sketched designs drawn by Warren, run through the panel saw, edged and then assembled.
Four or five years ago both partners, following the move to automation throughout the industry, to use Darrin’s words, began looking lightly at the options available around them in anticipation of an eventual decision.
However when they employed a new designer whose experience was with Cabinet Vision the decision became simple and a couple of years ago they purchased the programme They used it as a standalone design tool as well as a parts generator for the first year before hooking it up to production when they purchased a new Biesse Skill 1224 GFT in late 2012.
“It was a good way to go about it,” says Darrin. “As we were able to become familiar with the front end before moving deeper into the production side of the programme”.
The move to nesting itself was again somewhat a matter of circumstance. Initially Darrin and Warren decided that they needed to replace their edgebander but in researching that option realised a similar budget could purchase a reliable second hand edgebander and a new router, allowing them to shift their production to a nesting set up.
The fact that they already had a Biesse Rover point to point which had always worked well for them and a healthy persistence from the Biesse rep meant they settled on a Biesse Skill 1224 GFT, a machine whose flexibility suited their manufacturing style and one-off design production.
The combination has worked well, with minimal training Darrin who largely deals on the production side has found it pretty easy to pick up despite having had no previous CAD experience
“It’s all about your mind set,” says Darrin, “manufacturing cabinets and kitchens for 25 years means we have a good idea of how cabinetry works and were able to translate this to the software. It all made sense.”
“During the 2-3 day install by the Biesse team we sat down with Phil Smith from Joinery It who we purchased Cabinet Vision from and set out the parameters of our construction methods and developed a library to suit, which meant we were ready to go almost immediately.
Since then most of our contact has been through a remote server which has worked really well especially initially when the contact was more frequent. Now, if I have an issue, maybe we require a specific program for how we manufacture, I ring Phil and he takes care of it as opposed to doing it myself.”
One and a half years later both are happy with their shift to nesting.
“The machining accuracy is better,” says Darrin “and takes out an element of error. The optimisation set up is great with significant material saving through less wastage. On top of this a lower skill level is required to operate the machinery and manufacture the cabinets, giving us a bigger pool to employ from and at the end of the day the manufacturing process is much quicker.”
The company is only using the Biesse on average 2-3 days a week leaving plenty of room for growth - however Darrin believes Kitchencraft is about where they want it to be right now so are unlikely to push the machines capacity for some time.
20 Birmingham Rd,
Ph 09 274 4221
JOINERS Magazine March 2014 page 31
Effort In Results Out
When Martin Page at The Kitchen Centre in Henderson made the shift to CNC production in October last year he decided that he wanted software that would automate their entire process. With his staff he decided that Cabinet Vision was the package to provide this and seven months later have found that dedication, hard work and supplier support have seen them achieve their goal.
The Kitchen Centre specialise in bespoke kitchens something that Martin and his family have been doing for 30 years cross the wider Auckland area.
“We knew to keep up and remain competitive we needed to swap our panel saw for a CNC set up and purchased a Biesse Skill CNC router late last year. We understood the importance of putting the right software with it and choose Cabinet Vision for a couple of reasons. Firstly it was an internationally proven product which embraces the idea of screen to machine and secondly it had local representation which we knew we would need in coming to grips with the change.
Previously we had been using software for design and in generating parts and cutting lists so we had some knowledge of computers and systems which assisted our shift to full CNC production. It has been great and has really sped up our process and reduced lead times but we quickly realised that the machine only does what you tell it, the important part is becoming familiar with the software which instructs it.
Initially our designers attended an introductory seminar run by Joinery It, the local vendors who we purchased Cabinet Vision from and that along with a couple of days on site with Joinery IT representative Jason Chittenden was great in getting us started and familiarising our staff and designers with the set up.
Setting up the library to suit your own manufacturing methods and utilise the program fully from design to production does take some time - particularly for a firm like us who are always dealing with one-offs.
Joinery It have been there to assist this development, via the phone, internet and through on site visits and we also dedicated time ourselves in setting up hardware and merchandise options we use in our design and presentation.
Seven months on we are 95% of the way there and I can say that Cabinet Vision is a very good product, it can do everything and more – we are still finding new things it can do on a daily bases. The support from Phil Smith and Jason at Joinery It has been very good and their knowledge of the product a very necessary part of our development.
“I would recommend Cabinet Vision and Joinery It to prospective buyers, the product and backup has been great - but I would suggest timing the change for a slower period of the year than the pre-Christmas rush we choose, and be prepared to put in some extra hours - like many things results are dependent on the eff ort you put in.”
Martin and Ben Page
The Kitchen Centre
12 Bruce Mclaren Rd
JOINERS Magazine June 2014 page 43