Summerbridge Links Cabinet Vision And Alphacam With Special Software Application
A special software application enables a cabinet and door manufacturer to load its Cabinet Vision Screen-To-Machine files into Alphacam for nesting.
The production process also involves another standalone macro written by Cabinet Vision engineers, which merges two CSV files – one containing drawing information, and one with secondary operations – which are then imported into Alphacam for cutting.
"Cabinet Vision’s add-on packages are simple and robust, but for us, the nesting engine is key."
Nick Kersey, Technical Manager
Summerbridge Doors Ltd produces a range of cabinets and cabinet doors, principally for kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms and studios, along with the static leisure home industry and housebuilders. Now operating with around 120 employees at their factory in Hull, the company has supplied vinyl-wrapped cabinet doors for 25 years, and expanded into full cabinet production in 2012.
They also offer a sub contract service, creating doors and cabinets for design companies that don’t have their own manufacturing facilities.
In total, several thousand cabinet panels a week come out of their Cabinet Vision design and Screen-To-Machine programme, and are imported into Alphacam for nesting on Biesse Rover machine tools.
Technical Manager Nick Kersey explains that as their Winstore automatic loading system has a database of offcuts, as well as using full sheets, they needed a special application to nest products designed in Cabinet Vision onto the offcuts. “We use a software add-on called GPA, which looks at the Winstore database to see what material is available.”
Export files are created in Cabinet Vision, and the GPA system then produces Alphacam drawings and a CSV output, which is loaded into Alphacam for nesting.
“For example, when we’re working on a new job we’ll set up the room walls, drop in the required MFC cabinets and edit them to the exact specification. Then we define the materials, and include a job reference along with all the information that Alphacam needs.
“Cabinet Vision’s Screen-To-Machine centre will then create two outputs – firstly, the Alphacam drawings, including operations, and a CSV file containing all the information related to them. And the other output is for secondary operations such as end drilling for our Skipper machine. This will be in the form of CIX and CSV files.
“It’s at this point that we use the macro to merge the two CSV files and import them into Alphacam.” All relevant paperwork, assembly sheets and drawings are then printed from Cabinet Vision. The next step is to launch the GPA program in Alphacam, import the CSV file, and process it through nesting and cutting.
He says the overall integration between Cabinet Vision and Alphacam is seamless, producing accurate cabinets first time, every time.
Cabinet doors are manufactured from MDF and then wrapped in vinyl, or laminated with acrylic. Summerbridge has a standard range of around 40 designs and 90 colour variations, and are also asked to produce customised one-off orders. Production is handled entirely in Alphacam, giving capacity for the company to ship up to 25,000 doors a week.
The process is made even faster with Alphacam’s Automation Manager, which enables files to be batch processed, from file preparation right through to applying toolpaths, with NC code generated automatically. In addition, Automation Manager can create a full report structure, along with labels and bar coding if required.
In total, the company has ten CNC machine tools driven by Alphacam and Cabinet Vision, including three 3-axis SCM Ergons, each with two tables and an X-axis with two independent heads, a small point-to-point Biesse Skill, two Biesse Rovers, and a Skipper drilling machine. Two of the CNC machines form part of a manufacturing cell, which also includes a beam saw and the Winstore storage and loading system.
About the Company
Name: Summerbridge Doors Ltd
Business: Cabinet and door manufacturer
- Production is handled entirely in Alphacam, giving capacity for the company to ship up to 25,000 doors a week
- Nesting function is invaluable for producing their doors
- Automation Manager can create a full report structure, along with labels and bar coding
- Files can be batch processed, from file preparation right through to applying toolpaths, with Alphacam’s Automation Manager
“We’ve continually invested in new technology and machinery, and as a result our delivery times are now between five and ten days - among the best in the industry.”
Nick Kersey, Technical Manager