Deco&Design - Machines and Tools - Wood processing techniques - Furniture Production Machinery

With the help of a CNC he reinvented himself, moving from event organisation to making radiator masks

The pandemic period has hit some sectors of the economy hard and forced some people to change their field of work. One of the hardest hit areas has been event management. Businesses suddenly found themselves without a job and therefore without a source of income. In order to survive, they have adapted by finding other activities to provide a daily living.

Such a firm is Smart Rental Division. Having been in the business of renting video and audio equipment for events, there were months when it had no contracts. Salvation came from the company manager's hobby. George Istrătescu had made his own masks for the radiators in his home 7-8 years ago, which are still much appreciated by those who pass by. This gave him the idea of a company that would mass produce radiator masks and that's how Mo Factory.

mo factory masks rubiq cnc radiator

Smart Rental Division, the pandemic and the need for retraining

Smart Rental Division was going well before the pandemic. It specialised in developing and implementing high-tech solutions and offered a wide range of services such as organising corporate and sporting events, organising forums, exhibitions, art shows, music festivals, conferences and concerts. It was well known in the industry and the people were skilled. In event management there is no school where you learn what to do. Everything is learned on the job and takes time and willpower to perform.

But the pandemic came. All the events that were the company's business were suspended. There were months when they had no contracts. George tried as much as possible to keep people because they were good and he knew that if they left, it would be hard to rebuild the team. For months he went to the office every day trying to find a solution, to learn something new, to find a way out of the crisis. He'd come back more tired than during periods when activity was at its peak.

The solution came from his passion for working with wood and its derivatives. Eight years ago he made four radiator masks himself with a hand milling machine, which he still has today. Although in the meantime other pieces of furniture have appeared in the house, the masks have remained the pieces de resistance, the ones that catch the eye of everyone who comes to visit him. Their success convinced him that there was a market for such objects and pushed him towards production.

mo factory masks rubiq cnc radiator

Router 1325 Pro from Rubiq CNC came with precision and reduced working time and made up for the lack of manpower

From the beginning it was clear that he needed a CNC to be able to do production. The moulds were delicate and needed precision, which was very difficult to do in series with hand machines, as he had done the first time. In addition, there was a shortage of skilled labour in the industry, a shortage that could only be made up for with state-of-the-art machinery that was as automated as possible.

At first they used a small CNC with an 800×600 table to learn. In the Mo Factory there are only three people, one of them being George. Unfortunately, the 8 SMART teammates had to give up. After months of trying to keep them using the reserves he had built up over the years, he had to tell them to look for better options for them. The event company still exists and still has events sporadically, but the business is far from predictable.

The small CNC was not used for production but only for learning. Then he thought of making his own CNC to use to produce the masks. But he realised that for the precision he needed, a makeshift CNC could not guarantee quality production. He started searching all media channels for a machine supplier and ended up with Rubiq CNC. It was just after their campaign when they reached 100 CNCs sold in the country. It was one of the factors that determined the choice. The fact that they had sold so many was a guarantee that the machines were reliable. The other reasons they chose a machineRubiq CNC were the guarantee and the fast and quality service. Mask production relied heavily on machinery, and in the event of a breakdown could not afford to wait long for the problem to be solved.

In April 2021 bought CNC 1325 Pro. Was lucky it was in stock and didn't have to wait for delivery. The equipment is 1300×2500 mass and is very accurate. The strength structure is designed to effectively eliminate vibrations resulting from machining massive materials, and the sturdy frame, made of welded and stress relieved tubular crosspieces, is resistant to deformation caused by torsional and bending forces. Because they practiced on the small machine and because it is easy to operate they quickly learned to work on it and immediately went into production. They don't work at full capacity because there are only three of them, and the whole mask production cycle involves other steps: fitting, painting, packaging. They could work a lot more because there are orders, but there is no manpower, unfortunately.

mo factory masks rubiq cnc radiator

mo factory masks rubiq cnc radiator

With these masks I want to go international

The masks are worked in MDF or veneered MDF, painted with water-based paints ICA brand. In addition to masks, they also produce 3D decorative walls, which are highly appreciated and in demand. They've thought about moving into furniture, but so far they've only made a kitchen. The demand for masks is very high and they don't have time to experiment.

With mask production George has big plans."I want to go international with these radiator masks. In Holland, England it is a common, widely used product, in our country it is just a niche product. Not many people get into this kind of work because it's a lot of hard work. Those who make furniture from panels shy away from masks and 3D walls because it's more work and less profit. With masks it's a complete process from cutting to finishing. But I'm happy making masks, precisely because it's a niche product."

It aims to buy more automated machinery in time. He believes this is the only solution to this acute labour shortage. He regrets having to think about a future in which people are replaced by robots, but sees no other solution.

George has managed to pick himself up after the pandemic hit him hard and reinvent himself. He has created a new business from scratch and is determined to make it known abroad. Teaming up with two colleagues and a CNC, he has managed to produce a niche product that is both popular and in demand. Good luck, George!

mo factory masks rubiq cnc radiator

Photos are property of Mo Factory.

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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