Work Cell Robotics: Automating Muskoka Cabinets Plant
A robot integrated to wood manufacturing

Muskoka Cabinets added robots to load and unload CNCs, under the control of its its enterprise-wide computer system. Working with Quebec-based AutomaTech Robotics, Muskoka Cabinets is the first cabinet manufacturing company to use this type of robotics in manufacturing.

Muskoka Cabinets president Luke Elias, joined by Automatech Robotics CEO Tommy Gagnon, will explain the technology project at the Conference at WMS 2015 in Toronto on November 5.

Ottawa's Muskoka Cabinet Company is a highly innovative cabinet manufacturer of kitchen and bathroom cabinets, closet organizers and Murphy beds. In addition to making cabinets, they also develop and implement new high technology processes and procedures that benefit the entire cabinet industry by showing the way to improve manufacturing productivity - so much so Canada's governmental agencies have invested in their latest efforts.

With 75 employees, Muskoka Cabinets operates a 100% UV water-based robotic finishing line, integrates R.F.I.D. (radio frequency ID) into parts to  track workpieces through the plant, and has recently expanded its robotics and fully integrated ERP computer management system. A large grant of $150,000  from the development agency for Western Ontario supported implementation of these programs.

In July, Muskoka received a visit by Pierre Lemieux, Member of Parliament for its district, to announce an additional federal grant of $70,000 through the Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP) to assist Muskoka Cabinets with costs related to developing its new robot applications to improve the process and speed of loading and unloading CNC machines. This particular project will help create up to 10 new jobs. The funding was delivered through the Prescott-Russell Community Development Corporation (PRCDC).

Muskoka Cabinets president Luke Elias (r) with Pierre Liemieux, Member of Parliament for his district.

In addition to making cabinets, they also develop and implement new high technology processes and procedures that benefit the entire industry by improve productivity. Muskoka Cabinets supplies new home builders and its dealer network throughout Ontario Province. Their mission is to continue providing unsurpassed value to their customers.

"Our continuing commitment to maintaining a modern plant has led us to a first in Canada - the installation of a finishing line that uses water-based finishes that are more durable and beautiful than traditional methods," says Luke Elias, president. The finishing technology allowed Muskoka to introduce its Breathe Easy Line of Cabinetry in 2006. It also operates a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, and is a showcase of cellular-based robotics manufacture.


Tommy Gagnon

Tommy Gagnon is CEO AutomaTech Robotics, a technology company with a mission to automate manufacturing at small and medium enterprises by focusing on robotic expertise. Previously, Gagnon worked for the Canadian government in economic development, "which gave me a taste for entrepreneurship," he says, leading him to Automatech Robotics. Based in Quebec, the company's multidisciplinary team consists of highly qualified technicians and creative engineers to design and develop appropriate solutions to work within complex constraints. A video shows AutomaTech's Ro-Bois-Tec cabinet making installation. 

AutomaTech Robotics designs, markets, integrates and supports innovative and flexible robotics systems for small and mid-sized companies in Canada's wood and metal industry. AutomaTech's core business skills relate to industrial engineering, human-machine interface, and software engineering. Its combination of skills in industrial, robotic and software engineering allows very flexible robotic solutions. Robotics increases productivity, by reducing the cost of labor, training, material, and space among other advantages, says Gagnon. 

Je suis PDG d'AutomaTech Robotik, une PME technologique qui a pour mission d'automatiser les PME manufacturières en focalisant sur notre expertise robotique. 
Auparavant, j'ai travaillé pour le gouvernement en développement économique, ce qui m'a donné le goût d'entreprendre.Depuis près de 20 ans, AutomaTech Robotik permet aux PME de profiter d’une expertise de pointe en automatisation et en robotique industrielle. AutomaTech, c’est aussi une grande expérience en intégration de systèmes personnalisés qui répondent adéquatement aux besoins des entreprises d’ici.

Chez AutomaTech Robotik, l’équipe multidisciplinaire est composée de techniciens hautement qualifiés et d’ingénieurs créatifs pour imaginer et mettre sur pied des solutions appropriées à vos contraintes les plus complexes. Nos experts prendront le temps d’analyser votre situation, vos besoins et votre budget, afin de vous proposer une solution qui permettra à votre entreprise d’augmenter sa productivité tout en diminuant ses coûts de production.


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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.