POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. -- Shipments are continuing to be strong for woodworking equipment produced by James L. Taylor Mfg., and the company is operating with a larger backlog in 2016.
We spoke with Jake Greenfield, who was named president of the Poughkeepsie, New York, company early this year, during the recent joint training event.
Greenfield said that Taylor will be busy over the next few months going into IWF, a reverse of the usual situation when the show itself provides a boost. The company has sold 40 Cameron flooring nesters, and Greenfield sees room for growth in that area.
“The success of the nester has loaded up our pipeline for shipments for two or three months,” he said. “The other strong growth is in our rip systems.”
The Cameron Rip-One, a new gang-rip scanner packaged with a 450-mm gang rip saw, is being introduced at IWF this year.
The new Cameron gang rip saw is made in partnership with a company in Taiwan. Taylor sends their rip infeed, the scanning system technology for measuring the size of the board and determining how to rip it, to Taiwan. In exchange the Taiwan compay sends gang rip saws or parts for the saw to be assembled in Poughkeepsie.
“We write the software that controls the moving blade saw,” Greenfield said. “We’re able to sell a rip system from our factory. That’s the Rip One, which will be introduced at IWF.”
Another model, the Skew, has a relatively low price point, uses lasers in a small footprint and has been out for six years. A cabinet shop that only uses it one day a week can make it worthwhile, Greenfield said. The shop can justify a system that is going to save them lumber.
Also at IWF will be a new door clamp for kitchen cabinet doors. They have redesigned their door clamp specifically for shops that are doing very thin stiles and rails. It started out being a specialty product, will do a better job of clamping thin stiles and rails.
“I think it is a better enough design that it will take over and be our standard. Anyone that clamps kitchen cabinet doors should come and take a look at it,” he said
Greenfield said that another product area that has been strong for the company is the 190B JLT dovetail drawer clamp.
“That product we debuted 10 years ago, but it happens to be a simple design,” he said. We’re on our third or fourth iteration design changes. We just sell a lot of them.”
What about clamp carriers?
“The clamp carrier market is moving along, but it is a mature market, and Taylor’s greatest competition is from their own used equipment in the market,” Greenfield said. “There are many clamp carriers out there still in operation.”
The used market has dried up since the recession, however, especially the larger clamp carriers used by the larger kitchen cabinet manufacturers.
Another market that has grown has been clamp carriers for whiskey barrels that have a long four-hour cycle.
Overall, clamp carriers are a steady, mature business.
Taylor competes in a number of export markets, but even before the Brexit vote lower currencies were affecting sales.
“We can go head to head with European equipment,” Greenfield said.
But the value of the U.S. dollar and weaker currencies elsewhere have reduced exports into Canada, South Africa, and some European countries. Exports normally account for about 25 percent of business, but that will be less in 2016.
Overall, it looks like the housing market will continue to drive sales growth. “If housing does well, it’s reasonable to expect that we will do well,” Greenfield said. “Kitchen cabinet door manufacturers are one of our core markets, and that segment is definitely doing well.”
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