Huntwood's Optimized Panel Processing Operation for Cabinets

By Karen Koenig | Posted: 03/12/2012 9:57AM


Huntwood IndustriesHuntwood Industries

Editor's Note: This article has been excerpted from an earlier issue of Wood & Wood Products. To read the article in its entirety, click here.

Located in Liberty Lake, WA, just outside of Spokane, Huntwood is one of the nation’s largest cabinet manufacturing plants, with a 567,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility. Not only has Huntwood been recognized by the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency for low VOC emissions, its products also are certified under the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Assn.’s Environmental Stewardship Program, says Resa Hunt, vice president.

Lean Manufacturing

Quality control is paramount at Huntwood. Equally important are lean manufacturing and continuous improvement. “Lean manufacturing has become a culture here,” says Tim Hunt, president. “Our employees do it instinctively. We’ve improved hundreds of things over the years.”

Incorporated in 1988, Huntwood is vertically integrated. The main panel saw cell area includes two Giben horizontal saws for cutting to size the boards. Also for panel processing, Huntwood uses Homag edgebanders, a Homag CNC double-end tenoner for cutting dadoes and grooves, a Weeke machining center and a Holzma panel saw.

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“When we had the panel cell at the old facility, we had 29 working on the shift. We have been able to reduce that number to 15 by making it a more efficient cell, and moving them to other departments,” Tim says.

One of the highlights of the plant is its automated panel retrieval and cut cell. The system incorporates a four-axis robot to pick up single boards as well as stacks of panels and brings them to automated conveyors. Data transmitted to the AGV laser-guided vehicle directs it to take the veneered and laminated panels from the conveyor to one of 15 drop-off points in the production process. The panel retrieval system also can queue the stacks throughout the night, thereby eliminating any morning downtime.



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About the Author

Karen M. Koenig

Karen M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Woodworking Network magazine (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory ( She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at or Google+.

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