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CNC Routing Wood

Welcome To a New Era

''We don't use any hand tools in our furniture making, only air tools in assembly. You can't find a chisel or a handsaw anywhere in our place,'' says Bill Clare, former managing director of Clare Manufacturing, a company which manufactures and exports knockdown, outdoor furniture (flat packed for pre-assembly).

The majority of shops nowadays are automated, working with machinery rather than hand tools to produce mass-produced furniture or flat panels (manufactured boards). The focus is on computer know-how and the operation of machines, not the precision skills mentioned above, although some businesses incorporate elements of both styles in their factories.

Using CAD/CAM (computer aided design and manufacturing) systems, machines can cut out, drill and rout in one pass. A CNC router can groove wood in shapes with a single or multiple spindles. Even in the machining area, the most economical way to cut boards is worked out using an estimating package.

''Every factory works differently. We produce cutting lists in the office, and this generates a work program to go to the machinist (who can be a cabinet maker), and then to component preparation areas and finally to the assembly area. We use technology such as multi-borers, CNC routing and computerised beam saws. The building part is becoming less and less important,'' says Alvin Duthie, proprietor of a flat panel, furniture manufacturing business.


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CNC Routing Wood

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