Windsor Kitchen and Bath believes in the market for frameless kitchen and bath cabinets. And they’ve backed up that commitment with a large-scale manufacturing operation that is growing as quickly as the market.
The Lawrenceville, Georgia, company started 30 years ago as a store fixture manufacturer, building out commercial retail and convenience stores. The RaceTrac convenience store chain was their very first customer, and today is still their largest retail customer. Other projects include a millwork remodel of the Daytona 500 speedway, Triple-A baseball stadium suites and airport newsstands.
Windsor moved into the kitchen and bath cabinet market a little over three years ago, by supplying distributor Founders Kitchen and Bath Inc. with cabinets for multi-family apartment projects. Founders represented 90 percent of their K&B business for the first two years, but Windsor has recently expanded its sales network, and now sells their product from Texas to Massachusetts. They currently have 135,000 square feet of plant space dedicated to cabinet manufacturing, while the store fixture business occupies an additional 40,000 square feet.
“Our cabinets are frameless, 100 percent melamine, with full overlay doors,” said Bill Healey, president. “All doors, up until last year, were slab melamine, European style. Starting this year, we’re also offering a five-piece melamine Shaker door style, using highly embossed melamine.”
Windsor doesn’t sell cabinets direct. They sell through distributors, who get contracts from designers and architects.
“We’re 100 percent a manufacturer,” Healey said. “All cabinet parts are machined on-site; then the cabinet is assembled, wrapped and put directly on one of our trailers. Our current focus is on truckload quantity orders delivered direct to our distributors, 275 to 300 cabinets at a time sent to the project site.”
Windsor doesn’t outsource. It is a fully integrated operation, including doors and drawers. They prefer the control manufacturing gives them on kitchen and bath cabinet components. Windsor is currently purchasing 3,500 boards a week which is seven to eight truckloads of panels.
Wood appearance panels
Windsor is seeking durable designs and panel products, and is using Arauco Prism TFL panels.
Prism TFL is Arauco’s brand for TFL. Windsor buys about 20 designs. For their five-piece door they are using Taction Oak which has a new technology called EIR or embossed in register that’s designed to give a more realistic look to the laminate. The wood’s natural characteristics are captured and replicated on the plate itself resulting in a finished panel that provides the look and feel of wood.
“For our slab doors, we buy melamine that has repetitive patterns and standard textures,” Healey said. “For our new five-piece shaker doors, industry technology now allows for woodgrain patterns to be baked on to particleboard that have the appearance of real wood. You can feel the impression on the surface. It has the look and feel of real wood.”
Healey said that slab doors are targeted for multi-family projects, while five-piece Shaker melamine doors are appealing both for multifamily and as a residential product. Heavy duty construction and durability are especially important for multi-family applications.
Custom-made software controls Windsor’s manufacturing process. Windsor starts cutting and machining their parts at least two weeks before they assemble the cabinets, and they plan the manufacturing flow based on an entire week’s production requirements, not by a specific job or cabinet. Their proprietary software determines the quantity of each part needed to be produced that week, for each species of board and color, optimizes the cut patterns for the boards, then sends that data to a saw using Ardis.
Healey said that a key to their success is the quality of their edgebanding. Windsor has six large Stefani edgebanders, two with groovers, and two with PUR glue capability when five-piece doors are made. There are four rear-loader beam saws in Lawrenceville, including two Gabbianis, one Holzma and one Giben, plus one Gabbiani front-loader.
There are also five CNC routers: three Morbidellis, one Busellato and one Weeke. Also, there are six Omal dowel machines, two automated, and four manual, and three CPC case clamps.
Windsor’s 90 kitchen and bath employees are currently making 3,000 cabinets a week. Healey believes the multifamily market should be strong for the next year or two. The company will have the capacity, by summer 2018, to build 8,000 cabinets a week, and Healey said there are several more big machines on order to help process an even higher volume by the end of 2018.
That’s a big commitment to the frameless kitchen and bath cabinet market.
At a glance
Windsor Kitchen and Bath
Products: Frameless cabinets for multifamily, store fixtures
Employees: 90 (kitchen and bath)
Plant size: 135,000 square feet cabinet manufacturing, 40,000 square feet store fixtures
For more information:
Arauco North America TFL panels
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