California-based Cabinets 2000 manufactures custom, frameless, European-style cabinets sold to tract builders in southern California and Arizona. Founded in 1986, the company, delivers, installs and services all of its products.
In 2013, Cabinets 2000 expanded to meet growing demand. That meant not only adding finishing equipment and personnel – it meant adding pigmented finishes to stay in step with trending painted cabinets. Nearly all of the finishes used at Cabinets 2000 are water-based to meet the company’s commitment to sustainability.
For many years, those included stains and UV clear coats. The company wanted its pigmented UV finishes to be waterborne as well. After purchasing a new CEFLA flat line machine and testing several coating suppliers of waterborne pigmented UV finishes, Cabinets 2000 selected the Sherwin-Williams Ultra-Cure Waterborne UV pigmented blending system.
Earning the business
Cabinets 2000 has worked exclusively with Sherwin-Williams since 2005, and while that relationship played into the waterborne pigmented UV selection process, the product still had to be proven for performance and consistency.
“I could see the trend toward painted cabinets two years ago,” said Cabinets 2000 President Sherwood Prusso. “And while 75 percent of our work remains stained product with clear coat, pigmented is catching up. We have to do 20 to 30 houses a week with painted cabinets, so we didn’t want to do it by hand. It could take four to five days for product finished by hand to air dry. We had to increase production and reduce turnaround time, so pigmented UV was something we definitely had to address.”
“We tested several different manufacturers’ pigmented UV coatings,” he said. “You have to look at everyone’s products, you need to make sure that what you’re purchasing actually works. We took our relationship with Sherwin-Williams into account, but we had to see how it performed.”
Prusso visited the Sherwin-Williams testing facility in Jeffersonville, Indiana, taking along test doors to be finished with pigmented UV coatings on a spray machine, hot air oven and UV line. He also had the coatings shipped to CEFLA, which provided a new UV flat line finishing system to Cabinets 2000 for the pigmented coatings process to ensure that the products were compatible
(Note: Once installed, Cabinets 2000 decided to run its clear coat UV operations on the new CEFLA line and utilized an existing Giardina finishing line to run the pigmented UV product, but the CEFLA line can still run pigmented UV finishes if the need arises.) The finishes also passed the necessary Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) standards.
“Sherwin-Williams made adjustments to the finish as we tested, and it came out really nice,” Prusso said. “Once we started production, we were at seven minutes from spray to cure per coat; we coat five times, so that’s 35 minutes of throughput time on the machine, and that’s pretty darn good.”
Another selling point is the ability for Cabinets 2000 to offer its builder customers a match to more than 1,000 colors in the Sherwin-Williams fan deck. The company currently runs 13 standard pigmented colors on its finishing line; these vary, depending on the choice of glaze. The majority of pigments are shades of white and dark gray. “But we pride ourselves in giving the customer what they want,” Prusso said. “If they want blue with a brown glaze, we can give it to them. We tell them we can match any color in the fan deck.”
Consistency and on-time delivery are key
Whether stains or pigmented UV coatings are involved, color consistency and on-time delivery are critical to the success of Cabinets 2000.
Working with Sherwin-Williams technical support, Cabinets 2000 developed a program where stain and pigment volumes are such that the production machinery requires no changes in pump pressures or line speeds.
“I don’t know anyone else who can do that – provide batch after batch consistency,” Prusso said. “That’s important to us. We ask a lot, and we’ve worked together long enough that 99 percent of their coatings come in correct. With other suppliers in the past, we had tech reps in every day. With Sherwin-Williams, I don’t have to call at all.”
The manufacturing facility is only eight miles away from the Sherwin-Williams production facility in Santa Fe Springs, California, ensuring fast delivery. Sherwin-Williams also added a curing unit to ensure that Cabinets 2000 orders can be addressed quickly, regardless of whether the order is for one gallon or 500 gallons.
Cabinets 2000 operates three finishing lines – a Giardina rotary stain line, the UV Giardina flat line and the new CEFLA flat line. The company believes that the automated systems give them an edge, not only in consistency but also in sustainability.
“We get a high reclaim value from our operations,” Prusso said. “We reclaim perhaps 25 percent of what we spray and spray it again with the pigmented and clear coat lines. Our stains are zero VOC water-based, the UV finishes are pigmented and the clear coats are ultra low VOCs,” said Prusso. “We have a few small parts with conversion varnish, but we’re really the poster child for the South Coast Air Quality Management District. We’re permitted to spray 660 pounds of VOC per month, and we don’t even come close to that. Anyone who has ever walked through a woodworking facility can smell the solvents; you walk through our shop, and you can’t even tell we have a finishing department.”
Using Sherwin-Williams water-based coatings has allowed Cabinets 2000 to keep most of its finishing production automated, and Prusso feels that’s a key to consistency. “I don’t know how our competition can keep finishing consistency spraying by hand,” he said. “We prefer to remove any inconsistencies by doing it with machines. When you watch it, all you see is money coming off that line.”
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