Full house at WEB-CAB industry 4.0 event at Armoires Mathurin
By Bill Esler, Woodworking journalist
MONTMAGNY, Quebec – April 11 at kitchen and bath cabinetry firm Armoires Mathurin drew 40 wood manufacturing managers from across Quebec Province. Sponsored by WEB-CAB, Inc., the event examined how Lean Manufacturing operational approaches relate to the trending concepts of Industry 4.0. This day, who happened to be a true success, started with a plant tour at Rolland Mathurin to see the Production Assistant live in action followed by a lean management conference by Line Provencher, Lean management consultant.
WEB-CAB is a Canadian-based developer of a suite of wood industry business software, including Production Assistant, an application that falls within a rapidly emerging software segment known as a Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES).
Karl Mathurin, 2nd generation leader of Armoires Mathurin, kicked off this event by warmly thanking WEB-CAB’s team for their strong collaboration and even mentioned that his business would not be at the level it is today if it weren’t of WEB-CAB’s Production Assistant. Marc-André Binette, General manager of WEB-CAB then took the floor and said that his team didn’t do any magic and that was all a matter of planning and collaboration with Mathurin’s team. Binette also reinforced the importance for the factory to be «technology ready» and have at least one employee who’s comfortable with IT to be able to handle these projects.
The plant tour was a case study of analyzing investment in automation and lean production management, with key choices including the installation of a Homag Bargstedt IntelliStore panel storage and retrieval system, and the roll-out of Production Assistant from WEB-CAB, Inc. These two strategies have allowed Armoires Mathurin to increase throughput, and to reduce remakes and costly errors, like shipping incomplete kitchen projects to homeowners. Such missteps can cost hundreds of dollars when corrected in the field, wiping out margins on sales.
Investing in factory expansion or increasing production capacity through technology?
Business has been good for Armoires Mathurin, bringing pressure to meet the demands of rising volume. Intent on increasing production capacity, Armoires Mathurin weighed the costs of more real estate and construction for a plant expansion, against an alternative strategy: investments in technology to squeeze out more volume. A cost-benefit analysis predicted technology was a better bet, and now real-world experience is proving that to be the case.
As panels move through CNC machining and edgebanding, the Production Assistant spits out labels to be applied to each of the resulting component pieces for tracking, allowing the system to monitor the status of individual kitchen projects as parts are assembled in production sequence. Once Production Assistant sees all the pieces are completed within any given cell, a control screen shifts color to signal the project is now ready to move to the next production station.
WEB-CAB’s Production Assistant shows overall production status on a large master screen, that summarizes the status of global operations, including numbers of cabinets produced. Implementation of the Production Assistant system took two or three days, as workers became familiar with the system, and it was integrated to the data delivery of each of the automated machines.
The investment has proven sufficiently productive that Karl Mathurin projects an additional four stations for Production Assistant would allow the existing facility to increase volume by 50%. The managers on the tour were clearly avidly interested in the process explained during the tour, speaking steadily among themselves, and peppering the tour guides with questions.
The day ending with a hearty round of applause, and even more one-on-one follow-up questions for the days presenters.
Woodworking Network shared an article about the event: read the article here