As with all industries, it’s important for cabinetmakers and shopfitters to adapt to design trends in order to remain relevant and competitive, and meet the changing demands of consumers. Taking the trend theme even further, today, we look at three trends that one supplier, the Stirling Group, has identified in the industry, and how they’re connecting their customers with innovative solutions.
Trend 1: Custom tooling
Fraser Killen, Co-Founder and Co-Director at Panel Tools, says keeping up doesn’t have to be an expensive proposition. The official tooling partner of the Stirling Group, Panel Tools is leading the way in providing quality custom tooling solutions across the cost spectrum. As Fraser explains, any business using a CNC machine has the capability to produce an almost infinite array of products, simply by employing the right tool.
“We can create a one-off custom TCT router bit in less than three weeks for under $200 and with no minimum order,” he says. “This provides an opportunity to expand a business’s offering exponentially, even if the trend they’re accommodating turns out to be only short-lived.”
The example Fraser touches on is cabinet doors. “At the moment, there’s been a big run on cove and ribbed cabinet door profiles. We’ll prototype something that will give the customer a pilot version of what they want. We look at cost-effective solutions for them to produce something quickly and easily and then, if their volume grows later through demand, we can come up with a higher end solution.”
Indeed, for higher-volume output, Fraser says a diamond tip would be more appropriate. “The important thing to know is that you don’t have to over-capitalise on tooling. You may want to do a one-off job or test the waters on an emerging trend and do a small-run batch. But if the initial trend becomes fully adopted, you will want to gain more efficiencies from this profile, and you want tooling that will be able to cope with that.”
Trend 2: 5-axis CNC machines
While Brad Anderson, CNC Product Manager for the Stirling Group agrees that a 3-axis CNC machine is impressive in its versatility, he also sees a growing shift towards 5-axis machines.
“Some of our customers are taking their manufacturing to the next level and investing in 5-axis machines, which are another huge trend in our industry,” he explains. “As new designs become more complicated and more difficult to manufacture, these machines really step up to elevate a business’s capabilities by far.”
Trend 3: Clamex
Clamex is a type of hardware system, growing in popularity, which requires a specific profile to be grooved in the side of the panel. It requires an arced groove, to be produced with a blade or a router bit in a sweeping motion. 5-axis machines allow this process to be automated and applied at any angle.
Brad says the Clamex furniture connector system is just one example of how 5-axis capabilities are helping businesses surge forward and outpace competitors. “At the Stirling Group, we’re always on the lookout for ways we can help our customers to increase efficiencies and profitability. What we’re currently seeing is 5-axis machines becoming more and more desirable. Connecting customers with advanced technology puts them ahead of the curve.”
Article published on Supplier magazine – June 2023