Bridgeport spiced cherry kitchen from Designers Choice.
Designer’s Choice Cabinetry’s niche is quality and affordability. “We build a beautiful cabinet, and you get a lot of bang for your buck”, says company CEO Jim Murfin.
The Rockledge, Fla., company makes kitchen cabinets, vanities, and closet cabinets for the dealer market.
“In working with the dealers, an order is received, we then send them a confirmation,” Murfin says. “The confirmation is returned, then the job is scheduled, built, and shipped.”
Murfin started the business in Central Florida more than 30 years ago with a partner. It was called Atlantic Cabinets. The business model today was built from Atlantic Cabinets by selling to dealers.
“The difference is that we manufacture over 50 percent of our cabinets here at our manufacturing facility but like our dealers, we also sold wood cabinets made by major manufacturers at that time. We also sold directly to builders and homeowners through a dealer/customer base.”
Designers Choice Cabinetry evolved as its own manufacturer serving Florida 18 years ago, growing so fast that Atlantic Cabinets was sold within a few years.
“Today, the smaller mom-and-pop cabinet shops that manufacture cabinets are selling cabinets made by others,”Murfin says. “The major manufacturers came to them and convinced them to sell their cabinets already made at a cheaper cost then they could manufacture them for.
“Today, the large majority of our dealers offer a line of cabinets made in China. I know of seven different companies in Florida that import containers of “knocked down” cabinets made in China,” says Murfin.
At Designers Choice Cabinetry, 85 percent of doors are solid wood with maple, cherry and oak as the most common species, and 15 percent are veneer. In addition, an Almex Thermolaminator is producing an average of 100 foil doors a day on an MDF core.
Company makes face frame and frameless cabinets in one 93,000-square foot location.
Production is tied to assembly. The face frame and wood door departments are scheduled to work four days in advance of assembly, prep department three days, and finishing department two days. The company buys mouldings outside, but makes rails in house. There are 92 employees working in the Rockledge operation, with a total square footage of 93,000.
The company has two Biesse Selco panel saws, one an EB100 and the other a WN600, Holzma Optimat HPP 380 panel saw, one Rover 321 , two 322s, and a 346 point-to point machines built by Biesse, a Weeke 350-SP point-to-point, Komo router, Homag edgebander , Brandt Optimat KD94 edgebander. Also here is a Diehl ripsaw, Mereen Johnson gang ripsaw, two Koch dowel insertion machines and Doucet clamp carrier. The company developed a Miter-Mite VN4 custom made machine, for miter door assembly.
For programming and optimization products, Kacy Sindel, director of quality and engineering, says that Cim-Tech software has made programming easier. Router-Cim is used on the Komo router to optimize MDF sheets that are later used in the thermofoil process. Any cabinet components that could be cut on a saw can now be cut and drilled on the Komo.
Cim-Tech is used to program door styles, cabinet components, and foil doors. Komo is the only machine used for nested-based manufacturing. Using Cim-Tech’s specific software and g-code optimizes use of this machine. Pattern Systems is also used for optimizing on the saws.
The finishing room can produce more than 1,200 pieces a day with four finishing booths and two Cefla Falcioni Kleenspray flatline finishing systems.
“We are using regular conversion varnish, priming, painting, sealing, and topcoat,” Murfin says. “Our finish department supports a second shift, while other departments run on a split shift.
“Our recent machine purchase of a point-to-point saw has increased our horizontal drilling capability. We will be adding a new dust collection system soon. We are in the process of moving our door department to the rear of the building to ensure more linear flow in our process. “We have made quality control our number one issue. We were having color matching issues. With the addition of a chemist to our production staff, it’s no longer an issue.
“We are constantly introducing new products, adding 20 new foil colors, five new decorative melamines, and a dimensional board from Sweden. We always want to keep improving. You’re never to the point you want to be,” Murfin says.
For more information
Biesse America Selco panel saws, Rover point-to-points
CIM-Tech Router-CIM software
Diehl Machines Inc. Ripsaw
Doucet Machineries Inc. Clamp carrier
Flamex Inc. Spark detection system
Koch Machinery and Systems Dowel insertion machines
Komo Machine Inc. Router
Mereen-Johnson Machine Co. Gang ripsaw
Nederman USA Inc. Disa dust collection
Stiles Machinery Inc. Holzma panel saw, Homag, Brandt edgebanders, Weeke point-to-point
At a Glance
Designer’s Choice Cabinetry
Products: Cabinets, vanities, closets for the dealer market
Plant size: 93,000 square feet
Designers Choice is outfitted with a Disa dust collection system. A fire accident in July 2011 burned a portion of the building. A machine operator on the Komo had set the parameters wrong causing embers. The operator tried to put it out without telling anyone, but the embers had already made their way into the dust collection system. The dust collection system has since been outfitted with Flamex spark detection equipment which is designed to put out fires before it reaches the baghouse. Sprinklers were installed inside the baghouse to cover any embers or sparks that may have traveled that far.
“We had a lot of good retired equipment that we did not use anymore, and we sold it through Ex-Factory Auctions this year and got $40,000. for it,” Jim Murfin says. “It went through an online bid process and we were able to get top dollar for it.”
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Finishing department can produce 1,200 pieces a day.
Preparing parts for custom-built miter machine.
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Komo router used to cut MDF pieces for foil doors benefitted from Router-Cim software.
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