Changing your production methods to a nesting set up requires investment in machinery, software and time. Much of that time is going to involve employees moving from the familiar to the new. We spoke to some of the staff at Counties Kitchens in Papakura, who being comfortable with their existing set up eyed the new with some trepidation, and found that within a few months they were converts.
Counties Kitchens has been manufacturing kitchens, vanities and wall units for around 25 years. Current owner Mark Stevenson purchased the business three years ago with the intention of changing from using a dimension saw to cut his panel to a nesting set up – for him it was simply a matter of saving time and materials.
The company purchased a Masterwood 12.25 K flatbed router from Machines R US along with Cabinet Vision software from Matamata based Joinery It, in the middle of last year. The selection process wasn’t particularly arduous for Mark who wanted tried and tested technology.
“I choose the Masterwood for several reasons, I had purchased machines off John Fleet before and my dealings with him had always been good and the Masterwood to me represented value, it is big, chunky and robust, has all the features of its major competitors and is cheaper.” says Mark
The purchase of Cabinet Vision was also price related - with a standalone set up a priority. “I wanted one package that would take design through to production, I looked through several options, had a couple of colleagues whose opinion I respect recommend Cabinet Vision and the Joinery It team and it came in at a price which was very competitive.”
Results have been great. “Aided by a couple of efficiency improvements such as a forklift purchase and new racking systems we are probably now saving up to a day and a half per kitchen. Cabinet Vision saves a lot of time and eradicates a lot of potential errors with its automatic generation of part and cut lists from the design input and the direct feed of information to the Masterwood which just does what you tell it to do.”
Initially daunted by the task in front of him 18 year company veteran and production foreman Rodney Farrell is now an advocate of the system. “It frightened the shit out of me at first. I’m old school with no previous computer skills but told Mark I would give it a go and if I wasn’t up to it I would resign. It took some time with many early mornings and late nights but I am now enjoying it even to the extent that I am now assisting in developing the library,” says Rodney.
The company began using the router and its software as soon as the machine was operational.
“Following installation and a couple of days on site instruction from Philip Smith from Joinery It we just started with the new jobs. Initially our designers needed a bit of online help to develop the library, but production hardly slowed. Mark expected us to go back a few steps initially, but that didn’t happen because material purchases have gone up since we bought it,” says Rodney. “It is definitely the way to go, I always thought nesting was just for bigger business but if you have 4-5 guys on the floor this set up will suit, production scheduling is easier as through put is a lot quicker.”
The company’s kitchen designers Jamie Ng and Rachel Wilcox were two other employees directly affected by the change. As an experienced designer Jamie was comfortable with her existing design software, but has converted to Cabinet Vision quickly and any initial reluctance has disappeared as she has become more familiar with the package and can see the benefits of the direct links to production. Rachel came to the company from a graphic design course and while not having used Cabinet Vision before was fairly comfortable with the set up. “Once we had set up our basic library which we are continually adding to, there has been less and less need for assistance, but online help is great we use TeamViewer and it is very easy to follow what the guys at Cabinet Vision - Philip and Jason are doing online - we are literally able to watch and learn.”
Six months following installation Mark Stevenson is pretty pleased with the way things have progressed. “My staff have been fantastic, change is not always easy and it’s great to see how they have made it work. The Masterwood is a far more efficient cutter of panel than our previous set up and Cabinet Vision has meant the flow of information to it is seamless, quick and less prone to error.”
6 Vernon St,
Phone 0800 47 47 42
JOINERS Magazine March 2015 page 54 & 55
Library Based System Appeals
James Yang set up J J Cabinets & Stone on Auckland’s North Shore a little over a year ago. Starting with a panel saw he has been producing kitchens, wardrobes and vanities for builder clients in the North Shore Albany area. The purchase of a Masterwood CNC machining centre late last year from Machines R Us moved the firms manufacturing up a level and required James to have a closer look at supporting software.
“Rodney Skinner from Machines R Us was good with his advice suggesting a couple of options for me to look at that would suit our operation and the machine. As I went through them Cabinet Vision immediately struck me as one that required a serious look as its library set up seemed an easy one to use.
“And so it was - I have a building and drafting background and am familiar with Auto Cad but had never used a design and manufacturing package like Cabinet Vision before so was pleased when I found that setting up and implementing it was relatively straight forward “Once I had contacted Phil Smith of Joinery It who distribute and support Cabinet Vision in New Zealand it all came together pretty easily.
“We had three or four meetings to determine our requirements and the way in which we manufacture which allowed Phil to set up our library. Then we spent three days together where I was able to familiarise myself with the programme under his direct supervision.
“The setup of our library means all we are really required to do is drag out a similar cabinet make any dimensional adjustments required and we are ready to go. Any issues that have come up since initial training have largely been handled online. Phil or his off sider Jason are able take remote control of the computer and we can watch as our queries are answered while we speak on the telephone. Three months into using Cabinet Vision I am a fairly confident user and require little support in day to day use.
“Cabinet Vision has really simplified our manufacturing and planning process and along with the Masterwood has meant we are well positioned to take advantage of the strong housing market in the Albany area.”
J J Cabinets & Stone
8 Colway Place
Landline: 09 441 6678
JOINERS Magazine June 2015 page 65
Lead Times Made Easier
Fernlea Cabinetry & Joinery in Frankton have been making a variety of commercial joinery for 25 years, fitouts for hospitals, prisons, retail business, whatever the architect wants - an ideal business in a city and region experiencing considerable growth. Owners Linda and Frank Lawrence has been keeping abreast of the growth with new machinery, new software and more space.
The slogan goes ‘Hamilton - it’s happening here’, and it is. Hamilton is growing and so are the other towns and cities in the area. There are big infrastructure developments going on with such projects as the new inland port at Ruakura and the extensive re-routing of State Highway 1 creating thousands of new jobs throughout the region.
It’s great for business, says Frank Lawrence. But with the growth comes competition and tendering for commercial business is aggressive, lead times are very important and there is pressure on to be able perform quickly and capably. Two recent purchases have helped Fernlea in both these aspects. The company recently invested in an Ascent Pro CNC from Jacks and Cabinet Vision software from Joinery It.
“Together they enable us to not only do the job a little quicker but instill confidence in those looking at our tender, that we can perform to it. In fact we often assist designers and architects with technical support on a project before tendering, it shows we can interpret what they want and gives us a good idea of what is required.”
“The AscentPro was a good selection for us, well priced a solid all round work horse that suited our space and links very well with Cabinet Vision. The install was simple and Jacks back up has been good, online cameras mean very quick and very simple remedies if any issues arise.”
“In selecting Cabinet Vision we talked to other locals who were using it and they had good things to say. The screen to machine nature was appealing to us for speed of flow and accuracy in taking our designs to production. We purchased just as a new version was coming out and because of that it took us a little longer to come to terms with. But the Joinery IT team led by Phil Smith have been great in their support. They have been very available, giving us increased tutorial time, and invaluable help in setting up our library. The latest version is proving faster, easier to use with the screen-to-machine and easier to manipulate and alter jobs - a real asset.”
A further element in performing to tenders is having the right support partners for hardware.
“We have used Hettich product for a long time they account for about 80% of our hardware. Very good quality, great range, well priced. Our Hettich rep Grant Waugh is always available if we need him - which is usually to get something to us quickly.”
Having outgrown its current site the company is moving to Te Rapa in December. “I expect the New Year to be more of the same, a little uncertainty still around, but generally steady. The only real cloud on the horizon is finding staff, which can be a challenge. We are currently looking for a QS and tradesmen ... if you know anybody out there interested.”
Fernlea Cabinetry & Joinery
Unit 3, 593 Te Rapa Road
Tel: 07 849 4944
JOINERS Magazine December 2015 page 27