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CT Design: Accuracy and Versatility
CT Design’s relatively small facility is a testament to the variety and volume of products that can be manufactured with state-of-the-art panel processing equipment, software and engineered materials (see An Oasis for Innovation page 40). Owner Bryan Thatcher credits his early education in traditional woodworking for helping him to understand and implement modern fabrication technologies. “My knowledge of how a hand planer works and how to use a router bit to round things over – even simply understanding curves – helps me to be more effective and efficient with the machines. It helps me predict how materials will behave during automated processes,” says Thatcher. “When I look at machinery with the intention of making a product that has the best possible edge, all those fundamental concepts come into play.”
Thatcher appreciates the beauty of natural wood and the craftsmanship necessary to work with it. Although it requires significantly more labor to fabricate solid wood products, CT Design is a custom manufacturer and works with it as specified. However, in planning for the future, Thatcher’s investments support the more contemporary craftsmanship of panel processing. “I am a big supporter of both,” says Thatcher. “As a business, I am leaning more toward the engineered materials. They are more predictable and consistent. Processed with precision equipment, it is possible to produce durable products that have the look and feel that end users want, and it can be done more quickly, easily and cost-effectively.”
Each machine in CT Design’s current 8,000 square-foot facility was carefully selected for accuracy and versatility. The equipment, combined with on-going educational initiatives, gives CT Design in-house capabilities to process traditional flat panel laminates (TFL, HPL, veneer), as well as specialty materials (acrylic, Luxe high-gloss lacquer, plastic). Driven by KCD software’s integrated design and production platform, the company is not only meeting the needs of the local market, but is poised to grow significantly beyond it. Plans for 2015 include doubling production space, adding new machines to better serve existing custom and OEM clients, and launching a new go-to-market strategy.
“What happens in Vegas…doesn’t always stay in Vegas….”
CT Design is preparing to take production to the next level with an online custom furniture platform. Customers (both residential and commercial) will be able to customize products from a catalog built around the company’s manufacturing capabilities and supplier relationships. “We believe in our software and our machinery – and that we can take manufacturing a step further to allow customers to be an interactive part of the design process,” says Thatcher. “Our goal is to encourage that – to show that we can give people options without compromising quality or changing our structure. We want to ship beautiful products made from durable materials. After a piece is put together, it should look like custom furniture.”
To support the new line of business, CT Design will be adding equipment to the new facility and developing a more comprehensive software system. Although the details are still in the proprietary phase, Thatcher is actively researching drilling and dowel insertion as well as profile wrapping solutions. “We’re growing by leaps and bounds,” says Thatcher. “It is really exciting because investments in any one part of our business benefit the other parts as well. This expansion will allow us to better serve our commercial clients, OEM partners and residential customers.”
CT Design’s current facility is equipped with:
– Biesse Skill 1536 G FT CNC Router and nested base cell, complete with loading table and offloading conveyor. This automated cell is used for high-output jobs and requires a single operator.
– Biesse Rover B CNC machining center with a 4’x10’ flat table, used for acrylics and finer materials that require a more precise edge.
– Two Fravol S600 edgebanders feature CNC accuracy and a globally patented gluing system that can accommodate both standard and acrylic tapes, and multiple adhesives. The patented corner-rounding unit can follow any edge profile, including beveled, from 1-3mm radius.
– Vitap Eclipse contour edgebander
– SCM praytix S15 CNC Router