Drawer Systems 'Integrate' New Features

W&WP asks integrated drawer system manufacturers "what's new?" and examines some of their latest offerings


Integrated drawer systems have been gaining in popularity recently as more and more customers become aware of the products, says Marte Yerkins, marketing manager for Julius Blum Inc.

"They are gaining more acceptance," Yerkins says. "They're mainstream now and no longer an oddity." Yerkins adds that, compared to European customers, it has taken a little longer for customers in the United States to look for it . "Once they see it, they realize they need it. But they haven't seen enough of it yet. Customers are still looking at traditional wooden drawers and have to be shown these products."

Jan Fitzpatrick, advertising manager for Grass America, agrees that the systems are growing in popularity. "Specific drawer design and drawer customization is becoming more common," Fitzpatrick says. "Consumers are becoming more and more aware of what is available on the market and are requesting manufacturers and cabinet makers to build what they want."

Bells and Whistles

Part of the increased acceptance is a result of customers seeing some of the advantages afforded by the systems, such as full-extension capability and additional organizing possibilities. Dan Pickett, national sales manager for Hettich America, says customers are demanding drawers with more useful space, which full-extension drawers provide. "There's more and more demand for full-extension drawer systems - it's a much more significant part of our business now."

Another attractive feature to consumers is the metal drawers' organization possibilities, according to Yerkins. "You don't often have gallery rails in wooden drawers," Yerkins says. "Gallery rails help support the drawer's contents, so that when you open and shut the drawer, the stuff doesn't go flying everywhere."

High Quality, Low Investment

Larry Greenwood, product manager of Hafele America Co., says customers are discovering they do not necessarily have to pay a lot to get a good quality system, though it may come without all the added features of more expensive systems.

"The quality level from countries such as Spain, Italy and the Asian countries has dramatically increased in the last two to three years," Greenwood says. "The products are being made on progressive stamping tools, the same as in Austria or Germany, but you have the advantage of cheaper labor costs."

No Tools Necessary

All the manufacturers W&WP spoke with agree that one of the most significant trends in integrated drawer systems is toward ease of assembly. "Even in the field, you might not use a tool at all to put the drawers together," Greenwood says.

The benefits of easy assembly are not limited to installation, Fitzpatrick says. "We have a system with a removable front that snaps on and off. This is a plus for the homeowner for cleaning and for the manufacturer for shipping."

Pickett also sees the trend toward tool-less assembly. "The trends are for faster, easier assembly, Pickett says, "from assembling the drawer to adjusting the drawer front."


Integrated Drawer System Roundup

Atlantic Hardware Corp.'s new European drawer system is supplied with invisible drawer slides, comes in regular or full-extension; and is self-locking. The system is available in lengths from 12 in. to 22 in. and in heights of 3.75 in. or 7.5 in. The anodized aluminum sides accept 5/8-in. material for back, bottom and front. The drawers have a 75-lb load capacity and the drawer fronts are fully adjustable.

The Tandembox program from Julius Blum Inc. is a combination of the Metabox drawers and the Tandem concealed runner. The Tandembox full-extension drawers have double-walled sides to encase the running mechanism. Once the wood back, bottom and front are drilled and prepared, the entire drawer is assembled without tools.

The Unigrass Zargen Drawer Slide System, from Grass America Inc., is an integrated system of drawer slides, pull-out shelves, divider rails and accessories designed to create any type of drawer or drawer unit. The Zargen slide is characterized by the drawer slide that is actually the drawer side, Grass says. The system is available in heights ranging from 39mm to 213mm in an epoxy-coated finishes of almond, white and metallic. The system has a carrying capacity of 100 lbs, a captive roller system, built-in three-way adjustment and standard lenghts of 270mm to 550mm.

Hafele America Co.'s metal drawer's boxes are available in white and come with many accessories offering high flexibility for the cabinetmaker and the end customer, Hafele says. The drawers are available in lengths of 20mm and heights of 54mm, 86mm, 118mm and 150mm.

Hettich International's MultiTech is a multifunctional drawer system designed for use in kitchens and offices. Drawers can be 54mm, 86mm, 118mm and 150mm high and 275mm, 375mm, 400mm, 450mm 500mm and 500mm deep. The drawers can be assembled without tools. The front panel can be adjusted vertically and horizontally for perfect looks and operation, Hettich says.

The Integra-Top is a modular steel drawer developed by Mepla Inc. for kitchens and bathroom cabinetry. The system comes with a choice of three front-mounting variations: clip, slide and fit-on.

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