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PLANT OF THE MONTH: Artcraft Kitchens

artkraft A sophisticated software system is the hub around which Canada’s Artcraft Kitchens has built a successful automated business—designing, producing and selling custom kitchens, baths and residential millwork projects.

Production is comprised of laminates, veneers, solid woods and lacquered mdf.  A customized IMA Novimat edgebander is a key element of the operation, says Daniel Trabucco, the company’s second-generation owner, and the third generation in his family to choose professional woodworking as a career.  Trabucco’s grandfather Joseph had been a cabinetmaker in Treviso, Italy, before emigrating to North America in 1924.

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Trabucco’s father, Daniel Senior, founded the Niagara Artcraft Woodwork Company in 1961 in a 2,500-square-foot shop.  Three years later, fire destroyed both the shop and an adjoining hardware store that also was part of the business.

By January 1965, however, Artcraft was functioning again, this time in a 5,000-square-foot space at 4417 Kent Avenue in Niagara Falls, Ontario, the same address it has had for more than 47 years.  Artcraft Kitchens now occupies an 80,000 square foot building, comprised of production facilities, offices and showroom, and employs 95 people.

According to Trabucco, Artcraft sells predominantly through a network of independently owned retail showrooms in 21 states, three Canadian provinces, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.

Seeking to keep this large organization humming smoothly, the Trabuccos—father and son—recognized the need for sophisticated computer capabilities.

“In 1999, using software that we developed in house, we began to put our dealers into direct online communication with our office.  We enabled them to electronically enter all the specs for full-custom cabinetry.  The automated order entry system made quoting and ordering much more efficient for the customer and automatically generated cut-lists and drilling, machining and inserting programs for the various CNC machining work centers in the shop.  It also enabled Artcraft to purchase only the materials required for production thereby lowering overall inventories.  The software integrated Artcraft’s manufacturing equipment, which includes two Selco rear-load panel saws, the IMA edgebander, two smaller Homag units, and an Alberti CNC boring and dowel and hardware insertion line consisting of four in-line machines.  Also on the floor are a Biesse CNC router and a Comil case clamp for assembling the finished cabinets.  The result, says Trabucco, is to make Artcraft leaner and better able to meet the challenges of the 21st century.  The Novimat edgebander plays a critical role in this scenario.  Trabucco says, “A deciding factor in choosing IMA was their understanding of the unique requirements of our project and their willingness to adapt the machine to our system.”

Trabucco says that he is very pleased with the machine’s performance and is considering acquiring a second one.

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