| The company prefers to design, build and install all of its own work, such as the reception desk
| Wood Products Northwest uses design/engineering software located in an upstairs office to control the
machinery on the shop floor, including the nested-based router pictured above.
Embracing New Technologies
Hamlin is a strong proponent of technology, including design and engineering software, and says it has made a positive impact on Wood Products Northwest. The company uses Cabinet Vision software from Planit.
“We started with Cabinet Vision in 1991, with its DOS version,” he says. “We were really a small company still in our first few years. Right off the bat, the biggest thing it did for us was give us more ability with the presentation. It wowed the customers when they saw their projects in three-dimensional line drawings, instead of the hand drawings we had been doing.
“Because we have vested so much time and have experience with the software, now we use it for everything seamlessly,” Hamlin continues. “The drawings now are state-of-the-art for the client. The program supplies us with all accurate information to price our work; all programing and engineering, detailed perspectives and drawings for the shop, assembly sheets, cutlists and reports. We are able to use the built-in engineering and control all aspects of it inside our offices. The job then is sent out on programs to the shop and directly to machines with bar codes. Everything is very efficient. It has just been flawless. Even this year with our growth, we probably still have another 25 percent of capacity on the machines we have right now. We are pretty excited for how well everything has been working together.
Wood Products Northwest changed to nested-based manufacturing in 2000. Hamlin says this has proven to be a win-win situation all the way around.
“I’m a firm believer in nested-based,” he says. “I am sold on that technology now — the squareness of the part, the safety factor of it. Operators are never near anything that will hurt them. Also, since we now control all aspects of the engineering in our offices, it is much easier now just to have to train a operator to run the machines with a smaller learning curve. It is nothing like training someone in the past to program parts or having to manually handle sheets and cut all parts on a saw, one piece at a time.
“Because we do run small batches and complex things, you can’t beat it for the routing ability to cut all large and small parts,” Hamlin adds. “You can mix easy parts and complex parts all on the same sheet and cut it, mix a curve in with a square, because we have true-shape nesting. Everything has gotten very advanced.”
The company uses a Biesse Rover B 7.4 CNC machining center for its nested-based operations. In addition, Wood Products Northwest’s production shop includes a Biesse Akron 440 edgebander, an Altendorf F45 Elmo sliding table saw, an Adwood Detel M-22 boring machine, material handling equipment from Thomas Mfg. and a Kaeser SP-11 air compressor. The finishing and sanding department contains equipment from Binks and Sand-Pro.
Staying on the Grow
Though he has concerns about the economy, as well as more competition for less market share, Hamlin says he expects more growth from the company in the future.
“We would like to maintain the level of growth we have achieved in 2009,” says Hamlin. “Within 24 to 36 months, we are looking at possibly building a new facility with 20,000 to 25,000 square feet. At that time we may add a second nested-based CNC machine and case clamps, and go to an automated spray system.” z
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