Neighbour Construction Says Software Makes Them “A Real Game Pla yer”
Until just over a year ago, building and joinery company Neighbour Construction had never used a CNC machine, and didn't know that combining it with specialist software could help transform the business.
When they invested in a Felder Profit H 200 pod and rail machining centre, Felder recommended they program it with CABINET VISION software, as almost all their work is bespoke. Now, Neighbour Construction director Dominik Dubaj says CABINET VISION has eliminated all human error and means they can cut around 16 cabinets for a kitchen, and have them sanded with a primer coat applied, within a day or two. And bedroom wardrobes which would have taken two or three days to make previously, can now be produced in around five hours, to the pre-assemble stage.
“We had zero knowledge and experience of working with CNC machine tools, but saw immediately that the standard proprietary software was not going to be effective in creating programs for the bespoke products we manufacture – the calculations would have simply taken too long.
“From the very beginning CABINET VISION removed any issues we had previously with manual work where panels sometimes weren't square and had to be redone. We'd only find those problems when something wouldn't assemble properly on site. But CABINET VISION ensures every panel is 100 per cent accurate, and means that our installations now take just one or two days instead of a week.”
They have recently replaced a panel saw with a Felder CF 741 S combination saw, and even though CABINET VISION doesn't program it as it's a manual machine, the software does play a large role with it. “CABINET VISION has been specially configured for us to generate a cutlist for pre-cutting the panels on it,” says Dominik Dubaj. The company worked with the same type of bespoke User Created Standard (UCS) for their previous panel saw, too.
“We use the CABINET VISION cutlists to precut the panels on the combination saw, oversized by 6mm. Then the software generates precision dimensions for finishing on the Profit H 200 pod and rail machine. These correspond to the design, and the program includes features, such as holes for our cam and dowel joints.”
As well as manufacturing and fitting their joinery products, the software means they can also offer their products in flat-pack format, for customers who want to carry out the assembly themselves. It guarantees that the panels have the required high precision throughout, including overall dimensions, and the positioning of the cam and dowel holes.
Neighbour Construction was formed in 2006 as a building company, working on walls, roofs, steelwork and foundations, before expanding to provide fit-outs with joinery and cabinetry for kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms. Having successfully built a strong reputation, he felt the time was right to take the company to the next level, which involved moving to a bigger workshop and investing in CNC machinery.
At 3,000 square feet, their current premises in Edmonton, North London, are between three and four times the size of their old factory, and they now operate with five employees. “The combination of machinery and CABINET VISION helps keep costs down, while ensuring that everything we produce is right first time, every time.”
Working mainly with moisture-resistant MDF Medite , Birch Plywood, and other veneered MDFs, the first part of their process is to design the individual cabinets and the room layout in CABINET VISION. “We even use it if we're only creating a couple of cabinets. I can't imagine doing any joinery cabinet work without it now. The 3D design already has the NC codes behind it, which means we only need to do the work once. Then we produce the cutlists. The process really is that simple.
“With CABINET VISION we have an image of what we're cutting, so we can see the panels both on-screen and on printouts, and we have a list of dimensions for the operator to follow, along with the labels for each panel which are printed in sequence. Our machine operators follow the cuts on the list, and we can easily keep order of the panels, and know which programs need to be executed to build a bespoke cabinet.
“It also shows the amount of material we need, which helps us get accurate costings.”
In conclusion, he says CABINET VISION gives the business greater capacity, as it only takes a couple of days to get product from design to installation, if necessary. “I can't imagine producing precision products this quickly if we were using traditional methods. “CABINET VISION makes a major contribution to us being a real game pla yer today.”