Nesting cabinet parts has become second nature and highly profitable for Wooded Hollow Inc. of Payson, Utah.
Since the company purchased its first Omnitech CNC router and KCD Cabinet CNC Commander software in 2008, sales are up - reaching $2.5 million last year. Its table saw and boring machine have been relegated to second-class status.
Jady Day, owner of Wooded Hollow, says he took the plunge into nesting to grow his business without having to add payroll. It’s proved to be a winning strategy. Productivity has leaped, quality has improved and new opportunities have opened for the 13-year-old company.
Wooded Hollow started its CNC experience with an Omnitech Selexx Pal and KCD Software and added a second Omnitech Selexx Pal when production increased.
While Wooded Hollow added a second CNC nesting router and doubled in size to 12,000 square feet, its current staff of 12 employees is pretty much the same headcount it was in 2007.
“When we were using a table saw to size parts and a line boring machine to drill holes, it would take one guy a good day or more to process parts for an entire kitchen and get it ready to assemble,” he said. “When we went to nesting we went to half a day to cut and process the same number of parts with fewer rejects.”
Day credits the CAD/CAM software for helping streamline the process of scheduling and managing jobs while also enhancing production flexibility. “The KCD software really helps us organize the entire process flow from initial design to final assembly and allows us to make changes on the fly based on customer needs and desires,” Day says.
Short learning curve
Day began his cabinet making career in 1998. Seven years later, he established Wooded Hollow as a two-man shop. Building on a largely word-of-mouth reputation for custom cabinets, countertops, fireplace mantels and furniture, Day soon realized the best way to keep pace with growing demand for his products was to invest in CNC technology.
Wooded Hollow works in a variety of styles, from traditional kitchen looks to more contemporary designs.
Because he had no prior CAD/CAM experience when he purchased his first of two Omnitech Selexx Pal CNC routers, Day asked the salesman to help him narrow his software choices. “Try KCD,” he told me. “I didn’t even shop around.”
Day freely admits to some early frustrations. “It was a little painful at first because when you buy a CNC router, you think you can just start cutting parts but in reality, that’s not how it works,” he said. “There was a week of back and forth with KCD and the CNC sales guy to get the post processor correct. Both were very good about tech support. It was kind of slow at first but it got better and better.”
In addition to kitchen cabinetry, Wooded Hollow also does residential built-ins like this living room project.
“Once I became comfortable and proficient using KCD Software it was pretty easy to train one of my employees to run the routers,” Day said. “Once the job is designed, the software does the rest. It creates the G-code and tool paths. The operator just has to hit one button and the CNC router goes to work.”
Freestanding furniture like this desk can complement the cabinetry to make a complete project for Wooded Hollow.
In addition to nesting cabinet parts from thermally fused laminated particleboard, Wooded Hollow uses KCD Commander and the routers to accurately machine MDF raised panel doors and drawer fronts. “When I used to make my own door lists, I wound up with lots of doors the wrong size,” Day says. “I’d save them thinking I might use them, but never did. Now everything comes right off of my drawings and I don’t have any mis-sized doors.”
One of Day’s favorite additions to the KCD product family is their optimized touchscreen technology. It provides full program access to project files anywhere via a portable tablet.
“We have at least a dozen Microsoft Surface tablets in our shop. All of the guys have one so I hardly print anything. The guys can access all of the layouts and shop drawings on a tablet and mark off their cut list as they complete a part. I can see in real time instantly how the job is progressing,” Day says.
Day says that contrasting colors, such as seen in this white kitchen with a dark wood island, has become popular. Using his KCD Software with a tablet allows showing customers color options on the fly.
KCD Software is not only handy in the shop, it’s a great sales tool, Day says. “After I meet with a customer to discuss details and take field measurements, I create 3D drawing using KCD and send it back to the customer for review,” he said. “It’s easy to make changes to colors or things like adding a decorative curve or a roll-out trash can. Once the customer signs off on the design, we put it on the schedule, create door lists and drawer box lists, generate G-code for the router and order all of the hardware.”
Day says that changing colors has become one of the biggest things with using the software. “People will think, ‘Do I want my island the same color as the cabinets or a different color?’ To be able to swap colors with KCD on a screen in front of them is a big deal,” he said. “I can show every aspect of a kitchen right down to the corbels, crown details or drawer handles and change it out easily. The KCD 3D rendering is a huge leap. It eliminates a lot questions when I assure them that the picture on my device is exactly what their cabinet will look like.”
Doubling down on nesting
Day’s experience of a successful combination of Omnitech and KCD Software made buying a second Omnitech router a no-brainer when continued increases in orders necessitated a production boost.
“Buying the second router was a pretty seamless process because I decided to buy the same machine, only a newer model, using the same software,” he said. “Because we didn’t require any training, Omnitech sent out a technician to tweak our first router and make sure everything was good with the electronics, wiring, etc.”
Having a second router doubled part nesting capacity and allowed Wooded Hollow to take on job-shop work for others. “We have one company we do parts for that makes retail store fixtures,” Day said. “Without factoring in labor costs, the gross sales that we did with them in one year paid for the second router.”
Looking ahead, Day said, “I want to see us be more efficient. I want to perfect our system and eliminate mistakes as much as possible. I also want to take on a little more work with the same number of employees. KCD Software and nesting has put us on the path for continued improvement and growth.”
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