Impressive doesn't begin to describe the assembly operation at Scavolini, an Italian cabinet producer that’s taken the task to new heights — literally. In an area where space is at a premium, the Pesaro-based Scavolini moves product through the shop hundreds of feet up, down and sideways, as it assembles and ships more than 40,000 kitchens a year.  The visit to Scavolini and the high-tech operations of Colombini Group in San Marino capped off a week-long technology tour of Italian wood products manufacturers, sponsored by Biesse America.

Twenty-three North American wood products manufacturers (see below) from the cabinet, closet, furniture and store fixture industries participated in the Oct. 11-17 tour. The technology tour concluded with hands-on machinery demonstrations and a walk through Biesse' headquarters and factories, part of the 2015 bInside (Biesse Inside) event in Pesaro, Italy. Click here to also read articles on the manufacturing operations at Italy's Lago and Caccaro, as well as Lube and Aran Cucine.

Cabinet assembly at Scavolini: Based in Pesaro, Scavolini produces approximately 40,000 kitchens a year. That's an average of 200 kitchens per day, assembled by the company's 300 shop employees (600 total company-wide) at the 80,000 square meter cabinet facility, one of three production plants owned by the company.

Cabinetry components are outsourced, then machined and assembled in-house on a just-in-time basis, said Giovanni Severl, general manager. The majority of cabinets are sold throughout Italy, with New York and Russia among the top markets for the company's exports.

As orders are entered, an automated material handling system moves throughout a 10-story-tall area, retrieving the panels and components for processing and assembly. Among the equipment used at Scavolini are 10 highly-automated, high-speed production lines composed by Biesse Insiders for drilling and hardware insertion. Additional processing of doors and cabinet fronts was performed on a BreMa Vektor 15 line composed of two machines working in tandem.

The typical turnaround time, from order to shipment, is approximately three weeks, said Severl. These shipments include not only the cabinets, but also corresponding appliances, such as refrigerators and dishwashers — and quite possibly the kitchen sink — giving new meaning to the term "one-stop shop."

Once cabinets are assembled and packaged on the CVM line, the barcoded items are scanned, loaded on conveyors and sent to a temporary holding area – no more than two days pass between product assembly and the shipping of the full order, said Severl. Using an elevator lift, the orders are placed on an extensive conveyor system located above the main floor, and into the queue for shipment.

Founded in 1961, Scavolini also produces the high-end Ernestomeda brand at a separate 20,000 square meter facility. In 2012 Scavolini entered the bathroom vanity market and today produces 2,000 to 3,000 cabinets annually from a 13,000-square-meter facility.

Colombini Group: Located in San Marino, the Colombini Group has been producing furniture and cabinetry for more than 50 years and according to its website, is the largest producer of "single room" furniture, including 4,000 to 5,000 cabinets per day.

The company has more than 1,000 employees, with its headquarters stretching over 250,000 square meters. Manufacturing and assembly of the products takes place among four plants.

At one of the cabinet assembly plants, North American woodworkers watched while the vertical and horizontal components were bored, drilled and assembled in a just-in-time production setting. The setup on one line, for example, is as follows: components are placed on the RBO which feeds them vertically into the Biesse Insider FT2 drilling and hardware insertion machine, then to another Insider, and on to a third one, before meeting up with the horizontal components in assembly. On a line like this, the company produces approximately 300 boxes per shift of semi-custom cabinetry.

Cabinet boxes are offered in five standard colors, while more than 100 colors, pattern and texture options are available on the end panels and doors, a spokesman for the company said. Thicknesses on the doors, which come in solid wood/painted or laminated, range from 18-25mm. Here, Colombini uses a CVM Silver Pack box closing line to protect products during shipping.

Also seen on the tour was the machining operation at another one of Colombini's plants. Among the cutting systems in place here is the NexStep, which is used in conjunction with the WinStore material handling system. Also of special interest here was the brand new line featuring a Biesse Insider FTT R8 heavy-duty feedthrough drilling machine. The top and edge are machined, and then the parts are "flipped" for the other sides, for a capability of 12 to 15 parts per minute with a minimum batch of two pieces.

Also new at the plant was the Biesse Techno Kernel drilling and dowel insertion line, connected to an RBO Winner W1 feeder, stacker both with a baseboard management system. According to the company, approximately 30,000 parts are cut, edgebanded and drilled a day here.

About the Biesse America Tech Tour of Italy

Held the week of Oct. 11, the Biesse America Tech Tour to Italy included visits to six wood products production facilities plus close-up looks at the Biesse factories and visit to the Biesse Inside Event being held at Biesse headquarters in Pesaro, Italy

Pictured in front of the Biesse building are: (front row, l-r) Federico Broccoli, Biesse; Randy Jamison, Biesse America; Jill Standage, Classy Closets; Lori Hamblin, Classy Closets; Stephanie Parmer, Closets by Design (GA); Karen Koenig, Woodworking Network; Bill Weaver, Canyon Creek Cabinet Co.; Casey Bell, Bellmont Cabinet Co.; Steve Bell, Bellmont Cabinet Co.; Chad Grimm, Load King; Donnie Batten, Load King; Jed Richards, Holland's Custom Cabinets. In the back row, ( l-r) are: David Shamir, OFGO; Cory Shamir, OFGO; Sherwood Hamblin, Classy Closets; Stephane Fortier, North American Cabinets; Clay Smith, Royal Cabinets; Duane Standage, Classy Closets; Sebastien Madore, North American Cabinets; Steve Parmer, Closets by Design (GA); Ken Carella, Load King; Jeff Caldwell, Bridgewood Cabinets/Hi-Lo Industries; Bob Foote, Canyon Creek Cabinet Co.; Charles Chupp, Load King; Jason Varelli, Biesse America; Jim Caldwell, Bridgewood Cabinets/Hi-Lo Industries; and Rick Lovorn, Canyon Creek Cabinet Co.


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