I was looking for a video that cabinetmaker requested and the below document popped up in my search. I wrote this shortly after we converted to nested base from a beam saw ptp set up. Its incomplete and applies to my business model. This change took me from frustrated and struggling to smooth and easy and PROFITABLE with less production people
Nested Base VS. Panel Saw/Secondary Machine
The beam saw is a great machine for cutting up lots of squares and rectangle, especially if they are all the same size. You can load in multiple sheets and it will spit out stacks of 3 parts of the same size very rapidly. The downside is that sometimes you need a lot of parts that arenít the same size and a large number of them need secondary machining for line boring, Rafix fitting etc. First letís look at material handling and how many times we touch the part in the process. Red text highlights step that can be done wrong based on operator skill or training.
Guy in office creates cut list on excel spreadsheet or from design program.
Guy at saw manually enters part sizes into panel saw (This depends on level of saw you have, you may be able to output directly to machine)
Load the panel and start the cycle
Set aside the rips that come out of the machine
Rotate the rips
start the cross cut cycle
Unload finished cut parts onto a cart
Load remaining rips into the saw
start the next cycle
Unload finished rips onto cart
If the above process was for all the same size parts, on most machines you could complete this cycle in approximately 8-10 minutes and assume 3 sheets stacked. In 90% of our work, this was not the case and would involve multiple sizes and could take 12-25 minutes or more to complete a 3 sheet process. Additionally the operator has to be at the saw for this entire time as there are not enough gaps in the process to complete other tasks.
Roll carts to edge bander
Edge band and run all parts
Sort parts at end of bander for secondary machining (parts not always machined)
Move cart to secondary machining areas, PTP or Rafix Drilling, hinge boring, pocket screw, etc.
For PTP, find part and corresponding barcode and scan to load program (We were already running a software package that was automatically creating the code, If you donít have that and are writing code at the machine, you find stock parts from your catalog or modify existing for needed parts.)
Move pods on machine to make sure they are clear of machining ($100 Pods are never hit by tooling, causing damage:)
Place part on proper side of machine,
Step on pedal
Push green button
If part has second side, flip and place part on other side of machine
Step on pedal
Push green button
Remove part from machine
Affix rail bracket (no pre-drill, horizontal drill on PTP)
Drill fixed shelves on Rafix machine (make sure proper edge is to the stop)
Drill other side of fixed shelf (make sure proper edge is to the stop)
Insert Rafix fitting
Sort onto final cart for loading
In our old system we used Grass Zargen Metal sided drawers and the backs and bottoms were cut from ĺĒ white melamine
Cut drawer parts to size from full size panels or scrap ( See above for loading into saw and material handling, about 6 steps)
Edge band backs
Drill backs on machine
Dado drawer bottom on table saw
Load finished drawer parts into 1 of 3 storage cabinets in drawer station area
Pull parts from cabinet to assemble drawer
Nested Base Machining
You have to look at this differently. You arenít buying this to replace a line boring machine, your buying this to change and improve the way that you run your manufacturing facility and offer more options to the customer at a better value. This is not just a the CNC router but a complete package that includes software that will not only generate all design drawing but transfer that to code to run all the operations needed automatically. Unlike above process that is trying to reduce secondary machining by eliminating processes, in Nested base we look to add any and all processes needed into 1 process. We want no secondary machining. Things that we include in the nesting process: Hinge boring and handles for hardware on slab doors, baseboard and ľ round notches for cabinet that will go over baseboard, cable access hole in cabinets, pre drill the top stretchers with mounting holes for laminate tops and anything else that we might do on a regular basis is written in to the program.
Production manager reviews job from designer and makes sure everything is correct on the job.
Outputs job to the CNC
Operator opens the file for the corresponding job and loads to the work list and verifies that the sheet on the screen matches the printed paper in his hand.
CNC operator loads sheet onto CNC
Steps on the pedal
Pushes the green button
4-6 minutes later, unload machine (1-3minutes) and places parts onto cart for edgbanding. At this time all machining for ĺĒ melamine parts has been completed including Rafix hole, line boring, hinge boring and handle holes on slab door and drawer fronts, drawer box sub fronts drilled for hardware and screw, we even pre drill the tops on our home office cabinets so we can screw our tops on from underneath, rail bracket route, baseboard notch, grommet holes, cabinet assembly dados and fittings. The only process that we canít do on the CNC is horizontal drilling, which we avoid at all costs. We have 2 operation that we need this and have dedicated jigs for when we need it
Loads next sheet onto CNC, steps on Pedal and pushes green button.
While Second sheet is running on CNC, Edge bands parts from first sheet
While parts still on cart at end of edge bander, inserts Rafix fittings
Pre-drill holes for rail brackets (no horizontal drilling available on nested machine)
Install rail brackets
Sort and load parts onto final cart for delivery
We have now eliminated the Grass Zargen Drawer system and have nested all of the drawer parts in with the rest of the job. All drawer parts are ĺĒ thick and color matched to the job. The exact number of parts are made for each job and we have no stock parts. We can now easily make drawers in any size that we want. We stock a single type of slide in 5 depths that can be used on all drawers and they are $2-4 per pair vs. the $15-20 per pair of the Grass. Drawer parts use a Blind Dado/Mortis & Tenon type construction. All machining was accomplished in the CNC process including pre-drilling holes for assembly screws and guides.
Drawer parts are sorted at end of edge bander and layed out for assembly
The 5 pieces are assembled and screwed together with the guide in place
My epiphany on this came one day when we had some turnover I the shop, within one week I fired 2 guys and had a third quit. On Monday morning it was me and a high school intern. The beam saw was to complicated for him to run, you had to keep track of rips, do math in your head etc. to get things cut in a timely fashion and with good yield. Iím pulling my hair out on the saw and I look over and I have a high school kid with next to no experience loading parts onto my PTP machine. DING! The light bulb went on, letís eliminate the saw and just go to nested base. Previous to nested base we were doing about the same volume and we needed 2 full time guys in the shop and sometimes a third helper to get things done. When you had a big job a guy could spend 4 hours or more on the saw and create large piles of parts to be edge banded, then you still had to run them on the PTP. The guy on the saw had to be good, and he couldnít really leave it, so you needed a guy to run the bander, drill shelves etc. We now run the same amount or more of volume, about $20k a week in sales with 1 full time guy in the shop. My current shop person is a good guy but only has about 1 Ĺ years experience. You need a smart guy to make sure things are set up correctly but you need that either way with this kind of volume. The guy running the machine doesnít have to write code or anything like that. He just has to know how to change a router bit, and open a file on the computer.
My original plan was to keep the beam saw and nest only the parts that would need secondary machining. Within 2 days of being up and running with the nested base, I made the decision to eliminate the beam saw. The unit that I had had 12í x 12í capacity and took up a 23í x 23í footprint. 5 weeks later it was loaded on a truck! We combined this with other lean practices and were able to sublease 3,000 ft. of our space to someone else, reducing or rent by $1500 a month.
Tooling costs. We do all of the heavy cutting with a ĹĒ compression bit. These run about $50 buck a piece and about $15 per sharpening. We can get about 5 sharpenings out of a bit before its no good. We usually get 40-75 sheets out of a tool before we need to change it.
When you are manually entering parts into a beam saw you can make minor changes to the list with a pencil, with the CNC it has to be right on the computer.
Material yield is different because you have such a wide kerf. I canít get ďstandard 12Ē x 24Ē size out of a 4x8 panel. This takes a bit of creativity but when nesting in drawers we are using over 90% on jobs over 7 sheets. Smaller jobs donít give us quite the yield, but we can batch smaller jobs together.
Remakes. Parts are held in place by vacuum only, and occasionally you have them move. We have a remake rate of about .04 per sheet, a 10 sheet job might have over a hundred parts and we might have to re-run 2 drawer sides.
Material handling, unloading a nest with lots of parts can be time consuming. On a beam saw all of your like size item will be cut together giving you a little better organizing as it moves through the shop. Auto unload on a machine will more than pay for itself.
We generate a lot more sawdust than with a saw, changing bags is done a couple times a week.
Down time. I have owned this machine since 2004. Since then I have had two major issues that caused serious down time. The first was a braking resistor that cost about $300 plus overnight shipping. The second wasnít really a machine issue. A wire bundle was held onto the machine with a zip tie that broke. The operator noticed it hanging but failed to do anything about it, and then it caught on a tab that pulled the wire connector apart. The repair process took a total of 4 days and to diagnose and I had to replace a $4,000 part, a Z axis drive. I have done all the servicing of the machine with the help from Biesse phone tech support.
Software has to be up to date. You canít skimp on the software, we originally ran the onboard software and programmed parts manually. After about 3 years, I realized I was wasting thousands in labor writing new programs for parts. We use Cabinet Vision, there are other that work as well, but you want it set up to be a full screen to machine package and you have to figure that expense in with the purchase of the machine.
Things I would do different
Knowing what I know now, I was to stubborn in the beginning. I tried to make the technology fit what I was doing instead of adapting to the technology. Be flexible, and donít get into ďThis is how we do itĒ. Talk to people that are already doing it and donít be afraid to change. The reps. are a good source of info but, you have to watch out for them as they arenít in the shop doing it, they are trying to sell you a machine and make a commission. On software, donít pay for it all up front, have a retention of 30% that you release when it does all the stuff that the sale rep told you it would do and its working.
If I was starting from scratch today, I would get a mid-sized machine with a good size drill head, and auto load/unload feature and a bigger dust collector. The midsize machines take up a lot less space that gives you lots of room for the automated loading. I would look at a couple of other software systems out there as well, although I am very happy with the Cabinet Vision package that I am running.
You'll have to do your own time study For what you are doing with your equipment. You have to look at everything in the process. With a vertical panel saw how are you going to load it, what percentage of parts will go onto ptp how much wsste etc.
In my scenario above and what we do, im confident that for the dollars invested in my equipment that my system will beat a panel saw and ptp or vertical machining center in profitability For the type of work we do. They might be faster but will have spent more money and will have additional operators and need more floor space.
The newer saws cut faster and do better on single cycle single sheet books compared to an older saw.
I think anyone doing a comparison needs to look at times and costs for both equipment types.
I don't disagree with you. Its not just about how fast the saw cuts. Its about handling,secondary machining,opportunity for errors, sqrare footage cost, employee cost, number of employees to complete the task etc. You have to look at whole picture
I've got a Komo nested router, an IMA PTP, an 8', 3 drill, bore & insert, a Schelling beam saw. We do mostly store fixtures so less repetitive in nature than kitchens. There are things the PTP can do because of it's aggregates that are faster or different than what the router and insert machine can do. For the kind of work we do the nested router beats the saw/PTP. If I were to start from scratch I'd go with a 5X12 self load/unload nested router with more tool slots and more drills. We dowel and case clamp boxes and Confirmat odd shapes. A mid range router like that is going to cost about $150K + another 20 or so by the time it's running at full capacity, with install. electrical, tooling, post processor fees, training...... Depending on your work, it may be worth looking @ a C-axis and (expensive) aggregates.
If you are doing a lot of heavy wood contoured machining, a PTP is probably a good idea.
We are space constrained and have even considered whether to keep the beam saw after replacing the PTP with another router.
Production time: The load, unload cycle consumes a fair % of the time on routers that are not self loading. It also results in dust being blown into the air, not good. The $15K or so that system costs is a bargain. It also allows more time for the operator to take care of other things.
About the auto load systems typically sold. Most of them will not take a full unit of material, unless you put the lift in a pit or raise the router higher. We run a big mix of different materials but will still run full units of melamine or P Bd so don't want to waste time breaking down a unit. Retrieving a different material with the forklift is also a time waster. Especially if you are just going to cut a few sheets. A vacuum lift with a a gantry crane can solve most of that.
please take alook at our cnc
its look like normal chines cnc ,but its not
we change all controler from Osai
to anew system that realy born to woodworking
forexample worklist ,parmetric integrated cad....
our system its upgrade of the famus Genesis controler(WSC)
any more details welcome
I swear I was looking to see if my name was at the bottom as the author of this dissertation. I make frameless cabinets for both residential and commercial clients. I spoke to my rep last year and explained to him that the system i had was not efficient and that I was looking to go to a nested set up. I currently have a beam saw, pod and rail, dowel machine, edge bander and case clamp. The saw is the bottleneck and I told him that. He said that was impossible but what they forget to ask is what specifically are you cutting. in our case we do a lot of boxes but there are not enough similar sizes therefore eliminating stacking at the saw. From there it continues to pile up at the rest of the machines. Derrick has it pinned directly on the nose and anyone who has been through this will understand. there are situations that dictate a beam saw and pod and rail set up but that is typically in a high production facility doing several hundred cabinets a day.
The most telling part of his lengthy but necessary response is that he eliminated unnecessary labor and expense while continuing production at the same level. The only way a small guy can be successful is to increase efficiency and eliminate waste were you can. With the labor pool becoming increasingly difficult to find good people it makes even more sense to simplify and maximize.
Thanks Chad. the biggest hurdle I have had with going to cnc,first ptp then nested base, is to stop trying to get technology to fit what we are doing and instead look at technology and how I could change to get the most out of it.
I went to nested base almost 3 years ago and made big changes to the way we did things, including moving my shop from one end of the building to the other. We are looking at about a 40% increase in volume from when we switched but have only added a helper in the shop for 2 days a week, but we have added an additional installer to meet the increase in volume.
I ran the #'s for the space currently used by the ptp & saw VS a new self load router. 784' saved @$6/'/yr = $3024/ year, 10 year life = $30K savings just in space. We are often tight on space so, at least in theory, we should gain some production efficiency with the saved space. I don't think I can justify the beam saw if we put in another router. We would still have the slider if needed for some jobs. The material lost due to a 3/8" compression bit as opposed to the nearly 3/16" saw kerf isn't enough to affect our typical nests. Some gain for the router is made because it doesn't need to make through cuts (rip or head) like the saw. The router could get a little better yield. A 1% sheet savings would save us about $4K/ yr. Labor also has some savings.
Larry the labor savings can be more a little. I would bet its greater than your space and materials combined.
The kerf created some issues with us but we adjusted a few of our standard sizes some and resolved that. We use the 1/2" as it cuts faster and lasts longer than the 3/8 but creates 25% more sawdust. Give and take with. Both
Not having a self loader, I have no way of measuring but I'd bet you are right about the labor savings. Will have to see what the rest of the year brings. I'd love to have a new self loader but only buy with cash. Saw what happened to a lot of shops that had leased or easy payment plan equipment. Right now I still need some more good employees.
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