When a kitchen distributor started to make their own products for a niche market earlier this year, the Cabinet Door Manufacturing program from Alphacam meant they could label each item ‘Made in Britain’ with full confidence that every one would be perfect.
Serving mainly kitchen companies who supply top-end private developers such as Berkeley Homes, Gallifords and high quality retailers, Amorini Components Ltd previously had their doors made in Asia, but took the strategic decision to start manufacturing themselves in the UK. This followed labour costs rising in the Far East, an unfavourable currency exchange rate, and customers demanding more flexibility in terms of size, quantities, colour and lead times.
Amorini Managing Director Peter Robson says their niche market of gloss lacquered doors is becoming increasingly popular and he doesn’t see it declining in the foreseeable future. Technically, it is a difficult product to build. Once the MDF board is cut on their Biesse Excel CNC router, programmed with Alphacam, the base coats are applied and sanded before the gloss lacquer coat is applied. Then the panel is sanded again and burnished with a specialist polishing machine to produce a very high gloss finish.
At any one time they stock around 20,000 of their standard lines, Koutakou slab doors and Delphi J-Profile handle-less doors, and the Biesse is kept busy producing those constantly.
But they see bespoke doors in any style and colour to match customers’ exact specifications, as their main growth area. That now accounts for around half the business, and is where Alphacam and Cabinet Door Manufacturing (CDM) really pays dividends, providing them with a great deal of production flexibility, ensuring that even the shortest runs are achieved without any loss of efficiency. Doors and drawer fronts can be produced individually or nested to ensure optimal use of each panel.
Systems and I.T. Director, Manda Robson, says they only have to input data once as no manual intervention is required between entering the customer’s order and the cutlist being produced. “When we receive an order for a bespoke kitchen we set it up on the system and send an acknowledgement out. Provided the doors are to be cut from the same material as other orders, we group them together and produce a cutlist which can be a combination of up to seven or eight orders.”
They have created a library of different designs, and Alphacam takes the required items on the order – each line in a cutlist says how it’s meant to be cut out – then CDM comes up with the most efficient way of using the 18mm board, from which most of their doors are made.
Running one or two days work per batch, they use cutmaps so the orders are easily divided up for separate finishing processes, but they can all be cut together. “It’s so easy to do this with Alphacam and CDM. The cutlist is produced from those merged orders within seconds, and sent to the Biesse along with the cutmaps. CDM takes all the error and donkeywork out of the process, making it completely foolproof.”
And Manda Robson says: “It means customers get exactly what they’ve ordered and we’ve confirmed – every time. If it’s a completely new design we may have to set up new drawings within Alphacam, but if it’s a style that we’ve done before, it’s quicker for CDM to set up the toolpaths than the time taken for the admin process of entering the order on the system.”
Peter Robson cites an example of how Alphacam ensured they could meet an order for the Olympic Village extremely quickly. “A kitchen company gave us a very short lead time, but Alphacam meant we could produce the required shapes for this small production run, and have the doors made and fully gloss lacquered within a few days.”
He says architects are constantly pushing the boundaries with unique patterning, but Alphacam gives both he and Manda full confidence that however surprising the details in a new order are, they will be cut accurately and swiftly. “Once the order is entered there’s no need for any more manual input, so we know that what’s cut is exactly what’s on the order.”
The ‘Made in Britain’ line is proving to be a big benefit, as both the UK market and their export customers place what he calls “great store” on the quality of the doors made in this country using Alphacam. “We have the ability to let architects change the shape and size of the door they require. It gives them the opportunity to do something different.”
Amorini’s 20 UK staff also supply their own branded solid surface worktops in 25mm thickness, from their 20,000 square foot workshop in West Sussex.