Using Cabinet Vision as their sole CAD/CAM solution, home interior manufacturer Draks Interior Door Systems Ltd have been able to take jobs from design to finish in one single system, allowing a quick and smooth internal process.
Draks Technical Director Chris Ayres says: “Being able to do everything with just one software package, means that everything, including the transition from CAD to CAM is done seamlessly, which is extremely useful.”
Currently operating with 29 employees, Draks Interior Door Systems Ltd produce customised home solutions, mainly focusing on design-led hinged and sliding wardrobe doors, wardrobe interiors, room dividers, walk-in wardrobes and bathroom cabinets to the new build sector.
Working in the industry for over 20 years, they have built up a reputation for quality through their customer-focused approach, combined with technical and design expertise. Sited on a former American Air Force base at Upper Heyford in Oxfordshire, the premises comprise a 15,000 square foot manufacturing facility, and an additional storage unit. Chris Ayres says: “We work with a number of large property developers, including the Berkley Group, Taylor Wimpey and Spitfire Bespoke Homes. We also work for a number of smaller companies building between 20 and 100 homes a year. This huge range of customer profiles requires us to be very responsive to changing design requirements whether it be one bedroom with an out of vertical wall or an entire site with 20 different designs and multiple options.”
Draks originally focused on manufacturing plantation shutters, however as the market size grew, they found the product vulnerable to competition from cheap imports. As a result, they began to specialise in bespoke wardrobe products involving a range of materials – glass, mirror, wood and metal. Combined with a fast turnaround time, in house manufacturing and the element of product fragility, he says this has been a winning formula against overseas competition.
Once they began to offer a more complex product range they knew they would require a CAD software package, “We began using Cabinet Vision when we purchased our first CNC Router. We were aware that we couldn't do this without some kind of CAD package, and Cabinet Vision offered an ideal on-stop system that we could use for every step of the process. This starts with the sales drawing and carries on right through to the finished product coming off the production line.”
The ability to do everything in one software package has been benefiting the business ever since. “That’s extremely useful to us and means that with better job control we can better manage our stock levels, reducing high-value stock being stored here instead of it being installed and invoiced. The fast turnaround that Cabinet Vision gives us is extremely important. It’s absolutely critical for this kind of low batch production that we do.” All components that require precision installation are cut on an Andi CNC Router, from the Anderson Group, and programmed by Cabinet Vision’s Screen-To-Machine module.
The key users of Cabinet Vision at Draks are the design team, which has recently expanded due to a growth in business. Sarah Norman, CAD Team Lead, says “Cabinet Vision is a vital and integral part of our design and manufacturing. In fact, it’s our sole system. It’s Cabinet Vision, from the point where we get the first task from the sales team, all the way through to the finished manufacturing, and out into the field with the fitter.”
Using Cabinet Vision to draw up and render designs allows the sales team to present an accurate illustration of the final product to the customer, which is important for managing customer expectations. Sarah Norman says: “The sales team use the photo renders now in the version we’re currently using, and with that functionality being considerably enhanced in Version 11, it’s going to be fantastic for us as a sales tool. It means the customer can see exactly what the installation will look like in their room.”
Cabinet Vision’s functionality gives synergy between the sales, design, manufacturing and installation process, resulting in a high level of end product accuracy with a quick turnaround time. This is particularly important for large projects where more than 50 design options may be required. Manipulating the design accurately is made easier with the Editing Shapes function, which allows the user to represent rooms that have inconsistencies such as sloped ceilings.
“In quite a few cases we've had a sales drawing taken from the original floor plan and we’ve had to change it due to the site conditions, so Cabinet Vision’s adaptability means that we can simply change the original shape extremely quickly. I find Editing Shapes to be one of Cabinet Vision’s most useful functions, because where we do have slanted ceilings we can't simply have a rectangular box. It gives us the ability to make things fit an exact space absolutely perfectly”.
Draks have four original product ranges that can be readily customised, from simple shelf and rail designs, through to their Skyline range which features a cantilevered system of ‘floating’ shelves. When a new project begins, the general parameters such as colour of the board and height of the ceiling are set, and the items needed are simply selected from the catalogue. The flexibility to simply alter the design saves time when starting new projects.
“Once we got the foundations of all our different styles of the different ranges set up in Cabinet Vision, they became so easy to change when we're working on a new project. So it definitely makes life easier.”
Once the design stage is complete, the CAD drawing is converted into CAM. “With just a couple of clicks we can check the list to make any amendments to the drawing, then if I’m happy with it, I send it through, get the NC code enabled and send it out to machine. It really isn't difficult at all.”
When the product is ready for installation, the accuracy of the manufactured product is of huge benefit as this reduces fitting time on site, which means more is achieved in a shorter time, and builds are completed quicker.
Sarah summarises, “Cabinet Vision adapts to produce all of our designs. We’ve created some very beautiful rooms with our furniture because of Cabinet Vision. It’s a very powerful tool, and once we understood how to talk to it, it was surprising how much it can actually do.”