The demand for bespoke furniture items, and ever shorter manufacturing and delivery schedules puts significant pressures on furniture manufacturers. Recently, this has been exacerbated by delays in the supply of raw materials and components. Together, these issues have made the challenge of maintaining an overview and control of production increasingly difficult.
“Software solutions have become a critical element of furniture manufacturing,” says HOMAG UK managing director, Simon Brooks, “Without intuitive and powerful software it is almost impossible to provide the level of service demanded by customers.
“HOMAG has always been at the forefront of software development in the woodworking industry. From the early days, the company has invested heavily in the development of programs that improve the efficiency and performance for furniture makers. The latest software solutions, including SmartWOP, productionManager and productionAssist Feedback, integrate with the industry market leading woodWOP control software from HOMAG.”
SmartWOP – The simple way to design furniture
Designing bespoke furniture items requires a software application that is not only easy to use, but also offers total design flexibility. The latest SmartWOP software from HOMAG is a simple ‘drag and drop’ solution that enables the fast and straightforward design of furniture items.
The individual components of a cabinet are simply drawn into a previously selected volume. As well as the standard rectangular shapes, special designs such as sloping ceilings or corner cabinets are also available. Existing furniture designs can be stored in a library and called up or changed at any time.
A ‘room planning’ feature enables the user to quickly design entire layouts for bedrooms, offices or kitchens. The beauty of SmartWOP is that a user doesn’t need to have any previous CAD knowledge or skills, it is that easy to use.
The opening of doors and drawers can be simulated, avoiding potential collisions with neighbouring components. The scope of delivery includes a large library with all common fixtures from the well-known manufacturers. Even customers’ own woodWOP components can be added to the furniture without any problems.
Visually, SmartWOP offers a realistic view of the furniture items being designed. An integrated material library with a range of designs for panel and edge materials enables the user to assign the corresponding material to each component quickly and easily. This gives a realistic representation of the piece even during the planning stage.
Powerful software duo – woodWOP and SmartWOP
The interaction between woodWOP and SmartWOP offers a special feature of selecting single parts of an individual item of furniture in SmartWOP and opening it directly in woodWOP. Processing steps can then be added and saved in woodWOP. And importantly, any changes made in woodWOP are transferred directly to SmartWOP and visualised there. So special parts and standard parts can be designed and then manufactured with ease.
The CNC programs and cutting lists for a HOMAG beam saw are generated directly in SmartWOP and contain all of the processing steps from both software programs. This unique CAD/CAM feature opens up a range of possibilities in the design stage and, above all, on the factory floor.
An end to endless paperwork: All the job information is constantly up to date
Production data such as CNC programs, parts lists for panel cutting, fixture lists or technical drawings are generated at the touch of a button. The data generated can then be passed seamlessly to the HOMAG apps and the digital assistant, productionManager and HOMAG’s nesting and saw optimising software.
As soon as a job has been transferred to productionManager, the parts lists and drawings can be accessed from anywhere. This means that all employees working on the job have access to all the job details, at all times. The days of issuing and then re-issuing paper based changes and revised designs to the shop floor are over. By equipping each employee or station with a tablet, the shop floor always receives the correct information for the job in hand.
Furthermore, by equipping the nesting machine and/or beam saw with a label printer, the combination of SmartWOP, label printing and productionManager can control all downstream operations of the production process. SmartWOP can output the edge data required for each part and each edge, this is printed on the label along with a barcode. Downstream drilling machines equipped with a barcode scanner can then select the necessary programme automatically, saving time and money.
If at any time the operator is unsure about a part, he can always refer to the specific part data – in both a single or an exploded view – using the tools provided in productionManager. This saves time for both the operator and the production staff as it reduces the mistakes made on the shopfloor. The volume of reworks is reduced and efficiency is improved resulting in increased output and profitability.
The digital job folder in productionManager clearly shows the progress of every single part or the entire job, bundling all the important information about a job in one place. The user can report single parts as ‘finished’ for each process step (e.g. sawing, CNC, edge, assembly). HOMAG machines with a connection to tapio have the option of reporting production progress back to productionManager automatically.
With HOMAG’s optimisation software, the cutting patterns for the saw or the nesting patterns for the CNC machine are calculated automatically. The software can then calculate several alternative solutions simultaneously, for example, optimised for minimum waste, minimum material costs or minimum production time. The user simply selects the result that is right for them.
All jobs at a glance
The productionManager job management system allows jobs to be displayed clearly and ensures that the job details are quickly and easily visible. In addition, the job status is displayed directly for each component and each item for both HOMAG and non HOMAG machines or stations.
To give an even better overview of jobs, the job archive is in the navigation area of productionManager. One or more jobs can be moved from job management to the archive with just a few clicks. All information relating to a job, including information from production, is archived and made available to view at all times and for all employees. This makes job management clearer; for example, completed jobs are removed from this view and placed in the job archive.
Entire jobs or individual parts can also be reproduced. For example, if further production is required, the selected job is simply copied from the archive and is then ready for further processing.
Flexible use in any workshop
The digital job folder can be integrated into any existing workshop environment with very little effort. No significant adjustments are necessary in the software landscape or in the machine portfolio. Although machine portfolios are usually made up of machines from different manufacturers, this is no obstacle to using the software.
In conclusion Simon Brooks said: “HOMAG has developed an all-encompassing range of software apps that make the control of furniture manufacturing easy and fool proof. All the details are kept up to date across the various digital apps so that everybody in the organisation always has the very latest information about a job.
“If you haven’t yet considered HOMAG’s software solutions now really is the time to do so. They will make a significant impact on the performance and profitability of any furniture manufacturing business.”
For a demonstration or more information on the market leading software solutions from HOMAG or on any HOMAG machinery, please contact Adele Hunt at HOMAG UK on 01332 856424.
T: +44 (0)1332 856500