Ontario kitchen cabinet producer focuses on one custom project at a time

QTK Fine Cabinetry aims to satisfy its customers one kitchen at a time. “Your kitchen, your taste, that’s our slogan and we employ this methodology to build every single project,” says Daniel Toto, general manager. “We don’t stock parts, we cut everything we need for one job. Everything is processed in a batch size of one and our Schelling and IMA machines’ speed and reliability allow this. We not only build the kitchen for each customer, we design it for how each particular user uses their kitchen.”

The company rebranded from Quality Tops & Kitchens to QTK Fine Cabinetry because of its focus only on cabinets. QTK purchased a Schelling FH6 with Duplus and automatic label printing in May 2009 at Ligna. Shortly after that and before the Schelling was delivered to QTK, the company moved from two buildings comprising 31,000 square feet to one building with 45,000 square feet in size in Vaughan, Ont., near Toronto.

“By moving we were able to plan the production work flow and install the machines in the most efficient location possible,” Toto says. “This allowed us to capture lost efficiencies from being separated into two plants.

“We order sheet stock, cut on our Schelling FH6, edgeband on our IMA Novimat Concept with 24-color automatic selector, then parts get drilled on three point-to-point CNC machines. From there boxes are assembled using dowels,” Toto says.

“We employ a just-in-time system for all material and hardware inventory as well as work in progress inventory. We don’t cut, edgeband and build cabinets until just a few days before they are to ship. The reliability of our European machinery allows us to do this.”

Increasing speed

Toto says that one of the biggest improvements has been in the speed of the process. “We replaced our front-load Selco EB110 with a rear load, automatic labeling Schelling FH6, replaced a Brandt edgebander with one tape color with an IMA Novimat Concept with 24-tape coil. And we employed just-in-time ordering of all hardware and sheet goods. Assembled cabinets take up a lot of space, so we try to minimize how many kitchens we warehouse waiting to be shipped.”

QTK employs Microvellum software for engineering and creating automatic g-code for the three CNC machines in the factory, and Ardis optimizer and automatic part labeling on the Schelling FH 6 panel saw. The company also uses the MicroManager ERP system to track projects in production, assign employees to projects, to scan items being shipped and to gather data recording the number of man hours spent on each project.

Handling offcuts

The Ardis Inventory Management System (AIMS) allows them to keep, catalog and re-use offcut pieces. “This makes keeping offcuts easier, more organized and is environmentally friendly,” Toto says. “Each time an offcut is generated that is bigger than a certain size, an offcut label is automatically printed.

“The saw operator places the offcuts in a section that is also labeled and scans the part label and the area label so the system knows where the parts are located (so they can be used if needed).”

QTK doesn’t use bubble wrap and cardboard to transport cabinets because of they are not environmentally friendly. Instead, QTK wraps cabinets in re-usable blankets that are transported back to the factory upon completion of the project. QTK also manufactures all of its own doors.

“We are constantly innovating and pushing forward in design and process improvements,” Toto says.

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