Machines and Tools - Wood processing techniques - Furniture Production Machinery

Digitizing furniture production, a complete flow from design to processing

Industry 4.0 has brought us all new opportunities. Nika Machinery brings solutions to implement these new technologies through a complete workflow - from furniture design to raw material processing in the factory or workshop. Their expertise has been highlighted through their involvement as technical partners in the project DITRAMA - a Europe-wide collaboration to train the digitisation manager in our industry. As part of this, the online seminar Digital transformation of the furniture company defines a new professionwhere Adrian Broșiu, Nika Utilaje sales director, discussed exactly how to achieve better results while reducing costs.

Digitization of furniture production Nika Utilaje

Full flow digitisation

Although more traditional, the woodworking sector is also affected by the Industry 4.0 revolution. High-performance design software, numerically controlled machines specialising in all types of woodworking and derived materials, and software that makes it possible to transmit information directly from design to execution are no longer new. The Industry 4.0 transition comes with the most important change in industry compared to previous industrial revolutions. Digitisation makes it possible to streamline production, which is no longer limited by the number of machines and employees.

From Nika Utilaje's point of view, Industry 4.0 can be divided into 3 main stages:

  • graphic design, the actual design of the product from an aesthetic and functional point of view;
  • technical design with all that it implies to obtain the final product;
  • the actual processing on the machine and the follow-up of production.
Step 1 - digitize the graphic design

Nika Machine Tools offers as a solution for graphic design digitization BIA software. It is an online 100% software that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime. Its purpose is precisely to be implemented on the factory website to provide customers with an interface that allows them to design their own furniture, with real-time pricing. It is structured on two interfaces, one for the beneficiary and the other for the factory. With the customer interface, the customer can do:

  • room sizing
  • location of the fixtures in the room,
  • resizing bodies,
  • the partitioning of the buildings,
  • selection of materials and accessories,
  • real-time price view,
  • order placement.

The software is not just a library of fixtures from which the customer can choose the one he wants, but it allows him to modify the fixtures as needed: adding poles, moving them, adding drawers, giving them up, changing the number of doors, etc. The changes are made automatically by the software and are always correct. It automatically detects inconsistencies and all fixtures will always be correctly constructed.

Bia software Nika Machine tools

Bia Software allows production to be streamlined because it eliminates existing steps until the project reaches the factory and therefore the need for operators will decrease. There is no need for a direct meeting between the customer and the manufacturer, for a designer to execute the project, for a price quotation. The customer can do the project himself, from the comfort of his own home, he will know the price at every moment, at every change made, and at the end he can view the furniture in 3D format. This 'ready-made' project then goes straight into production. At the time of sending, the factory will receive an email and will see the project in the factory interface.

The second interface, the factory interface, has functions related to the creation of the elements required for design by the customer, limitations placed on the customer and functions related to the transmission of information to production. The functions of the factory interface are:

  • rules for the construction of bodies,
  • price calculation,
  • creation of libraries,
  • limitation settings for the client (e.g. no higher than..., no wider than...),
  • production reports,
  • Cabinet Vision + CNC integration

The price offer is very important when furniture is ordered. Bia Software allows simple price calculation. The price can be added in the factory interface on each item and so the customer will know the real price of the furniture at each stage of the design, for each accessory added. Design changes can also be made in the factory interface. They will be saved and the customer will see them and can agree or disagree.

Step 2 - Digitise the technical design

After the order is sent from Bia Software, it is picked up by Cabinet Vision (through direct integration) at the technical design stage.Cabinet Vision is the best-selling CAD/CAM software for furniture. It is fully automated, 100% digital. As well as creating the usual rectangular enclosures, there is also the possibility to create more unusual furniture. All the functions required to produce solid furniture (cornices, crowns, skirting boards, 5-piece doors, profiling on doors, etc.) are automated. Automated processes include:

  • adding operations,
  • generation of parts lists,
  • net price calculation,
  • randare,
  • price offer,
  • customised reports (e.g. how much varnish is needed to finish a piece of furniture),
  • generate CNC codes.

Digitization of furniture production Nika Utilaje

There is a direct integration between Cabinet Vision and Bia Software. When an order is generated in Bia, a file is also generated in Cabinet Vision that will contain all the bodies built with materials, dimensions, modifications, accessories chosen and everything the customer has designed in Bia. The transition to step 2 of Industry 4.0 is seamless and automatic, making the production process much more efficient.

Step 3 - processing on machines

Digitisation in step 3 means the connection between the computer and the machine. Software (such as Cabinet Vision) automatically generates the files needed to operate the CNC which are exported to the machine without further intervention. These are optimised for maximum throughput, minimum waste, resulting in a highly efficient flow. The required machines are automatically chosen and the required machining files are sent to them. This makes production management simpler and more efficient, processes faster and eliminates human error. The program also has a labelling function so each part will be labelled and will end up exactly where it belongs.

Digitization of furniture production Nika Utilaje

Below you can see how the information is transmitted to the machines responsible for the different stages of production (cutting with moving table circular or bundled circular, drilling, milling, etc.).

Thus, through digitisation, the project made by the customer at home automatically goes into production, where it is generated. One person checks the project and clicks to send it on and another to order the materials. Efficiency increases, production becomes more efficient, rejects are eliminated and the number of people involved in the process decreases. The process can be applied to any factory, be it producing furniture, doors, windows or sofas.

Production tracking can also be digitised. The Work plan software, made by the same company that made Cabinet Vision, takes the project with all the technical information and works as an ERP that handles both order management and the trajectory of parts in production (being able to see what stage each part is in at any time), as well as centralising files for CNC, technical drawings, rendering and access to the basic project.

As a conclusion, we can say that there can be a complete digital flow from customer to product delivery. The process can be extended to raw material warehouse management and generation of supply alerts, automated design and manufacture of custom packaging boxes and other such processes related to production and its efficiency.

We believe in effective solutions to help our customers go further than they imagined. To do this, we propose complete projects to ensure they get the most out of every machine or software they use. Industry 4.0 is a fantastic opportunity for all furniture manufacturers to be more innovative and therefore more profitable. They can rely on us all along the road to digitalisation. Adrian Broșiu, Nika Utilaje sales manager

Market opportunities exist and are highlighted by the new industrial revolution Industry 4.0. Integrated solutions such as those proposed by Nika Machine Tools are a way to benefit from the latest innovations, regardless of company size.

About the author

Mihaela Radu

Mihaela Radu is a chemical engineer but has a great passion for wood. She has been working in the field for more than 20 years, wood finishing being what defined her during this period. She gained experience working in a research institute, in her own company, as well as in a multinational. She wants to continuously share her experience with those who have the same passion - and more.

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