New cabinet plant built around technology, automation

A new cabinet manufacturing plant in Edmonton, Alberta, was built around modern technology.

Arash Vahdaty and partner Reza Nasseri didn’t want to wait four to six weeks for cabinets to be delivered to their homebuilding companies.

They built their own cabinet factory from the ground up, using modern panel processing techniques and the most automation they could find. This came after touring several dozen other cabinet manufacturing operations.

“Nava Cabinet Solutions was built so that we could solidify a strong supply chain for Modern Kitchens, our retail dealer, and to create a direct Edmonton source for its cabinets,” company president Vahdaty said. “Quality was also a big factor. We wanted to build a high quality product, while being efficient, to produce builder-grade pricing.”

Their plant makes frameless cabinets, closets and accessories, often using modern designs with painted or high gloss finish. Customers include production and custom builders, renovators, retail and restoration clients.Dimension Nava-1

“We travelled all over Europe and North America to look at various plants and equipment manufacturers to determine the best machinery and operations for the design and fitting of this plant,” Vahdaty said.

“Both Reza and I are big believers in innovation,” Vahdaty said. “The automation was one of the key factors for us. We actually looked at building a plant that was 100 percent automated and that’s still a goal to do that at some point. But we wanted first a semi-automated plant where people could adapt to what is needed.”

The goal was to use available technology to create a lean, efficient manufacturing plant and to take advantage of the cost savings associated with the efficient use of materials and the reduction of labor requirements.

“Over the past six months everything’s been about flow,” said Wayne Arondus, general manager. “We’ve actually changed the flow of the plant quite a bit with locally made material handling carts.”

Software designs are downloaded to the machines. Nava uses several materials, including melamine, reconstituted veneers, veneers and several solid wood species such as maple, oak and cherry.Dimensions Nava-2

The material is selected and cut through one of two stations on the CNC router or beam saw. From there the pieces are sent over to the edgebander where all the exposed edges are covered with matching edge tape.

An IMA Advantage 500L edgebander premills to 1 mil, then can do grooving and edgebanding in one pass. The edgebander is set up with a Doucet return table. Arondus said the ability to change out is a big advantage here.

“We’re less than six minutes to change out, which is really fast when it comes to edgebanders,” Arondus said. We have the ability to access quickly, you can get into the full machine. It is easy to change out, and get to the next color of the edgeband.”

Vahdaty went through specifications with every manufacturer on speed and capacity of equipment for the new operation. They looked at the Homag hot air system, but decided to go with the glue system.

“Almost every machine here we’re very happy with,” he said. “The quality we get from the IMA machine is phenomenal.”

Vahdaty said that he traveled to Europe and North America, where he visited more than 50 plants. “We wanted to make sure we had the best machinery, utilized the manufacturers at what they’re good at,” he said. “We interviewed operation and production managers in different plants, and found that IMA was the best choice, not only for this machine but for service. That’s one of the reasons we went with IMA.”

For the future, even more automation is planned, especially in assembly, sanding and in connecting different cells.

Currently Nava is developing all of its specification books, catalogs, support materials and web page and plans to aggressively reach out to both the Canadian and U.S. markets, setting up dealerships to continue to increase the daily box volume to its maximum capacity.

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