February 11, 2013 - A kitchen manufacturer has been able to extend its range of customers after switching to Cabinet Vision woodworking software, and it takes them the same time to write programs for an entire kitchen as it used to take for just one carcase without it.
“It’s completely turned our business round,” says Peter Doherty, Managing Director of Cabinetworks Ireland Ltd., which is based in Coleraine. Before installing Cabinet Vision three years ago to design their carcasses and drive a variety of beam saws and CNC routers, they worked with templates and carried out a number of time-consuming manual operations.
Cabinetworks’ kitchens come in three formats: flat pack, cam and dowel; rigid, glue and dowel; and the traditional hand-made screw fix, with independent studios in Ireland being their biggest customer base. They also export to the UK, France and Malta.
“Cabinet Vision has given us the ability to take on bigger, bespoke customers, and we now work for clients who want just one cabinet, along with companies who sell 1,000 units at a time into the kitchen trade. Without it, we just wouldn’t be supplying the variety of customers we now have, because we couldn’t manufacture the large number of bespoke parts in a commercially viable time.” He says he can quickly move from working on carcasses for an £800 kitchen, onto the dovetail drawers and bespoke cabinetry for a £60,000 kitchen.
After he feeds information about a customer’s order into Cabinet Vision Version 8 Solid Ultimate, the software does the rest, drawing up cutlists and producing labels, before their Screen-To-Machine option sends all the designs straight to the CNC machinery for cutting. “When I’m designing a cabinet everything’s done with the click of a button. And it’s intuitive...if I change one aspect of a cabinet, such as increasing the height, everything else is adjusted intelligently, ensuring proportions are kept right and cutting out human error.”
Screen-To-Machine analyses part geometries and automates the process of selecting the proper tools and order of operations, along with feeds and speeds, then sends the ready G-Code to the selected machine.
Before installing Cabinet Vision they used pre-set programs created in the individual software provided with each machine by the manufacturer, which he says was extremely limiting. “As customers were increasingly asking for completely bespoke kitchens we realised that if we were going to survive as a company we had to keep up with the times.”
The latest addition to their Cabinet Vision suite is Label-IT™. Parts are easily selected by simply touching the screen, and labels are printed instantly with the screen updating automatically to show which panels are finished. Cabinetworks have complete control over the data presented on the label. It includes the customer order, cabinet type, panel size and number, run numbers with bar codes, an image of the panel showing the drilling required, and specific edge banding information.
Now, with Cabinet Vision at the heart of everything they undertake, Peter Doherty says it helps skilled craftsmen to do their job while retaining old-style values. “All components going to the craftsmen’s benches for hand building are machined to high-precision and labelled. It cuts down on measuring and looking for the right panels.
His son, Pearce, says they find Cabinet Vision simple to work with to produce the bespoke angles, curves and slopes that the industry is now demanding. They recently conducted an experiment involving an order for a one-off wine-rack in a triangular alcove which he says would have been extremely difficult and time-consuming to do manually. “My Father and a joiner worked it out manually, drawing it on a panel on the floor, which took them half an hour, while I produced it in six minutes with Cabinet Vision...so it was built and finished by the time they’d worked it out.”
The software saves time on every job the workshop undertakes. “Before we started using it, it would take me quarter of an hour to write a program for one carcase. Now I can write programs for the entire kitchen in that time. So Cabinet Vision produces a bespoke kitchen in the same time that we used to produce just one carcase.”