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Departments: Quality Applications
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Accurate Technology ProScale Digital Measurement System

 

 

Efficient Measuring Improves Woodworking Quality
Accurate Technology ProScale Digital Measurement System

Throughout all manufacturing sectors, everyone is looking to increase production and reduce costs. However, one thing is non-negotiable: product quality.

The woodworking industry isn’t immune to these quality parameters. Quality Custom Cabinetry, located in the heart of Amish Country in New Holland, Pennsylvania, manufactures high-end, high-quality custom kitchen components, with cabinet doors being the primary product. Amish furniture has a well-deserved reputation for hand-crafted, quality workmanship, but Quality Custom Cabinetry is also a high-production facility with a focus on quality improvement. This emphasis has paved the way to increased production, higher sales and improved customer satisfaction.

Quality Custom Cabinetry has been in business since 1968. Due to tremendous growth, the company recently expanded its facility to 126,000 square feet, and now has 285 employees. Galen Newswanger, vice president of process engineering, meets with his production team regularly to evaluate various aspects of the manufacturing process.

In the past, the level of quality in many woodworking plants was based on the reliability of the tape measure and the operator’s ability to read it correctly. However, due to the current dearth of skilled laborers, many newly hired woodworkers can’t reliably read a tape measure and translate those fractional readings into their decimal equivalents.

In order to eliminate this problem, as well as improve product quality, Newswanger’s team retrofitted linear digital measurement units onto various machines throughout the shop. These digital measuring units, called ProScales, are made by Accurate Technology Inc. of Fletcher, North Carolina. They are high-precision electronic devices designed to make linear measurements with speed and accuracy.

“We have physical inspections in a couple of areas in our plant, but as for quality controls, we try and build that into each job,” explains Newswanger. “Operators are responsible for their own quality.” With the ProScales in place, operators simply have to look at the precise digital display for exact measurements.

One of the most unique applications to which Quality Custom Cabinetry applied the ProScale technology was its signature doors.

“Four small moldings are cut to length, mitered to fit together like a frame and glued to the face of the cabinet door,” explains Newswanger. But the accuracy of each operator and the limitations of the tape measure caused numerous recuts and refits each day.

Quality Custom Cabinetry solved this problem by using two other ProScale-based measuring units, called ProPanel, which resembles a large caliper, and ProRF, a wireless data transmission unit that connects to the TigerStop, an automatic stop and fence/pusher system on the miter saw.

The ProPanel is used by the operator to take the four measurements of each cabinet door where the molding is to be applied. With the push of a button, the dimensions are relayed to the TigerStop wirelessly via the ProRF. The TigerStop stores the meas-
urements onto a cut list until the operator is ready, and then automatically sets the stop to the precise length for the miter saw to cut each molding piece perfectly.

“We increased production the first week we installed the ProPanel and ProRF,” explains John Fisher, door assembly supervisor. “Prior to this system, it would take us three minutes per door. Now it takes two minutes.

“It also took us four-and-a-half minutes to glue the four pieces in place, but now it takes us two-and-a-half minutes. And since the pieces are cut so accurately, we drastically reduced remakes.”

Newswanger and Fisher both agree that the simple, comparatively inexpensive fix of utilizing the ProScale-based digital measurement system throughout the shop has improved quality and increased productivity.

“It all has to do with measurement,” concludes Fisher. “We brought a lot of people off the street and we’re teaching them to become cabinetmakers. They don’t have to know everything, but they learn to put pride into their work. The ProScale measurement devices allow the operators to run the machines precisely without having to read a tape measure.”

 

Accurate Technology ProScale Digital Measurement System

Benefits:

  • Increased tooling accuracy and speed
  • Provides precise digital readouts, eliminating the need to convert fractions into decimal equivalents
  • Interacts with tools such as saws to set stop points

www.proscale.com