2017/06/22   |   Australia

HOMAG Vantech: a long manufacturing history

Two companies in Perth have invested in a Vantech 480 B CNC nesting machine. Aleks’ Wood Craft and Prime Cabinets are both smaller cabinet making shops that have stepped up massively in efficiency and quality of their products.

"The CNC makes me more excited about cabinet making and my stress level is much lower than before."

Craig Litchfield, business owner, Prime Cabinets

The article was first published in the AWISA Magazine, Winter edition 2017.
www.awisa.com

Nesting has never been easier and more favourable. Cutting down assembly times and labour costs are crucial for every business. HOMAG’s Vantech 480 is one of the most respected CNC routers on the market and is perfectly designed for the Australian market. It’s a 1250 by 2500 mm machine (or optional 1850 x 3700 mm size) and it suits many smaller cabinetmakers that deal with a smaller sheet size – and it fits perfectly into a small workshop.

 

ALEKS’ WOOD CRAFT

Aleks Nikolic has a passion for machines, for quality machines. “I was looking at other machinery suppliers but the HOMAG Vantech is the most heavy and solid. I like quality and have trust in German technology”, Aleks says. The Vantech gives German know-how from an experienced supplier with a long manufacturing history of CNC machines – and these machines are sold to some of the largest manufacturers in the world.

Aleks founded his own company Aleks’ Wood Craft a few years ago in the shed of his backyard. When space was no longer sufficient for production, he decided to move to his current premises in Myaree in early 2016.

Aleks offers cabinet making for kitchens and all custom cabinet requests for mainly residential clients. All the work is supported with 3D models and cut on a Vantech CNC machine for top quality and precision. “I have used the CNC for small jobs and I can clearly see the difference. It cuts and drills holes in one go. A machine gives you something back and work becomes easier. I’m not 30 anymore”, Aleks jokes.

Fast and accurate drilling

The Vantech comes in heavy steel gantry for high precision cut quality. The fast and accurate drilling is guaranteed by a patented drilling spindle clamping, and all sensitive electronics are housed in a separate control tower with filtered air conditioning to ensure long life.

Additionally, a full start up tooling kit is included, which comes with drills and diamond tooling. To ensure the best possible extraction, focused extraction and additional air jets under the hood are crucial benefits of the Vantech series.

The Vantech is also available in different sizes; it can be ordered as a stand-alone centre or with additional auto loading/unloading and automatic label printing.

Following his passion

Aleks started developing his passion for woodworking when he used to build his own furniture. “We moved houses and needed new furniture. Everything was expensive and we were looking for an alternative. I bought hand tools and started creating”, he remembers. He then built a shed in his backyard, put a small machine in there to process solid wood and started doing his first kitchen panels.

It did not take long until he was completing jobs for family and friends – and his passion slowly turned into a business. Therefore, he changed his full-time job at the Perth Casino to a part-time position before he completely gave it up. Aleks says, “I don’t want to get rich; I just want to continue to do what I love and stay busy.”

He continues, “I love to create things with my hands and working from scratch. It’s a bit the same with the operation of his newly purchased CNC router. “At the beginning it was more a learning curve and learning by doing but that’s part of the fun, isn’t it?”

 

PRIME CABINETS

It took business owner Craig Litchfield six years to completely understand the impact of CNC technology. “Our capacity has gone up after purchasing a CNC machine”, he says. However, with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that the investment in a Vantech nesting machine has changed the whole production flow for the Perth company Prime Cabinets.

Founded 9 years ago, Prime Cabinets caters to builders and residential clients offering standard kitchens through to upscale work for multistorey buildings. After completing his apprenticeship in shop fitting and cabinet making, Craig extended his skill set at another company for a few more years before he decided to found his own business which has now turned into a family business where his wife Kristie looks after the financial administration. Over the last years, Craig has managed to build up the company’s reputation and now has the potential to grow bigger.

Even though Craig had no previous experience in using computer technology he was confident enough to buy a CNC machine with additional cutting optimisation software. “HOMAG’s Cut Rite software is easy to use and I received a helpful and interesting training from Homag.” According to Craig, it took him a week to get to know the basic functions in terms of programming from start to finish. Thanks to the investment Craig could improve the efficiency of the production process and the quality of the products.

Cutting costs for manual labour

“I was able to drop the costs for manual labour. I have noticed a big difference in our costs of manual labour since having the CNC machine as it is so fast and efficient. Also the CNC is so much cleaner than a panel saw and the compression cutters last me longer on the CNC than the blades on the panel saw.”

In terms of waste, Prime Cabinets has significantly reduced its waste production as Craig further explains, “The cutting list tells me how much waste I produce, which sheets to use and so on. There’s no under or over ordering. Therefore, I can quote on jobs much more accurately.”

Spot-on service in Perth

Maintenance is very low on the Vantech. In case of any disturbances, HOMAG has a good backup service in Australia with service technicians stationed all over the country. “The service in Perth is spot-on,” Craig praises the local service.

All in all, quality CNC processing has not only changed the productivity for Craig at Prime Cabinets but also his whole attitude towards his profession. “The CNC makes me more excited about cabinet making, especially creating 3D drawings for my clients. It only takes a quarter of the time for the 3D drawing compared to manual drawing. My stress level is much lower than before in regards to how to get it cut or built,” he says.

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