Capital Veneering

Customer: Capital Veneering
City: Queanbeyan
Country: Australia

There comes a time when having a CNC machine is simply not enough. Your competitors have them too and so, you look for other competitive advantages. One company in Queanbeyan has found a solution to their space and production issues with industry-leading technology supplied by Biesse Group.

The Perfect Solution

Capital Veneering is a company heavily invested in innovation. In fact, their motto actually is, ‘Innovation in Joinery.’ Managing Director Ben Madden, and Director and Operations Manager James Saffery believe that when vision and skill come together, the result is nothing short of inspirational. And so, Ben and James actively seek better, more effective ways to manufacture their mostly high-end, quality products through innovative processes; software solutions; machinery; and logistics.

Capital Veneering has grown over 22 years from a two-man joinery shop manufacturing bespoke solid timber and veneer furniture, to one of the largest joineries in the Australian Capital Territory. Ben and James both have trade backgrounds, Ben winning a 12 month scholarship to the UK where he worked for Viscount Linley, a furniture maker; former chairman of the auction house Christie's UK, and nephew of Queen Elizabeth II. Linley furniture is sold in retail stores in Belgravia, Harrods, and overseas.

Returning to Australia, Ben returned to the joinery he did his apprenticeship with as production manager before starting Capital Veneering. Ben says, “Veneering was not widely taught in Australia and was considered a niche market. I thought I should tap into that market and use the skills I learned in the UK to make a range of bespoke furniture such as dining and boardroom tables, and credenza’s. We also did veneer work for other manufacturers, especially those with patterns and inlays they couldn’t do themselves.”

A Partnership with Biesse

Their growth over the last 20 years or so has been made largely on the back of quality work, and for 17 of those years, the use of Biesse Group CNC technology. Ben said “We’ve never been afraid to invest in innovation. Yes, we’ve looked at other brands, but we are yet to find another machine with the same value as Biesse. The key things we look for is build quality and after sales service. When things don’t go to plan, and they do no matter what brand you have, it’s good to know Biesse Group are always there to get us back up and running again. We upgrade our major production equipment every five years and so two years ago, we started thinking about our next step.”

And so, last year, when faced with an overcrowded workshop, the need for even more CNC machinery and the likelihood of being forced to seek out a larger factory; Ben, and James invested yet again in innovation, installing a Winstore automated warehouse from Biesse Group, along with two new Rover B CNC machines. They did this within their existing factory to store even more product, increase production output yet again, and achieve an even safer manufacturing environment. So, in a limited space, how did they achieve this?

Winstore is the Solution

Capital Veneering had invested in a Biesse Group K2 Winstore some five-odd years ago now. The Winstore is an automated storage and retrieval system that is integrated into your digital production through software. The Winstore replaced much of their standard sheet racks and led to improvements in productivity, quality, and safety. Five years later and faced with having to relocate due to the amount of work they could take on; Ben, James, and Capital Veneering’s Systems Manager Andy Mann looked up and saw a perfect solution; air space.

Most factories have high ceilings and manufacturers are starting to appreciate the unused space right above their heads. Mezzanine floors are a cost effective way of increasing production space within the same factory footprint. Ben, James, and Andy decided to consolidate their machine shop and board store into a fully integrated cell within the limited space and once again, went to Biesse Group to make it all happen.

The solution; Capital Veneering’s Andy Mann would work together with Biesse Group to build a mezzanine floor in collaboration with local engineers in Canberra. Biesse Group would locate a new, larger capacity K1 Winstore on the mezzanine and two new Rover B CNC machines on the ground floor underneath and drop the panels through an opening in the floor of the mezzanine, right onto the CNC machine labelling tables…brilliant!

Biesse Group’s Clint Lewis says, “We’ve installed a lot of Winstore’s, but this is our first one on a mezzanine here in Australia. These installations are very popular in Europe where space is at a premium. Since we installed the Winstore at Capital Veneering, almost 80% of our Winstore enquiries have been for installations on a mezzanine. The industry here can certainly see huge advantages with this concept of materials handling and delivery to their CNC machines.”

Compelling Numbers

A Winstore automated warehouse can deliver some impressive numbers. Production line increases of 25%, product delivery to machine times reduced by 35%, 30% labour reduction and a 50% space saving over conventional panel racks located on the ground. When installed on a mezzanine, those Winstore space savings get close to 100%. Without the need for aisles for forklifts, your floorspace savings climb even higher, your workshop safety increases, and the real potential of your Biesse Rover CNC machines can be realised.

Capital Veneering’s Winstore is 29 metres by 11 metres and can accommodate 35 stacks almost a metre high. The Winstore can stack up to two metres high but in a mezzanine setup, ceiling height is lower and would seem an issue at first, but the lower stacks improve the efficiency of the Winstore, not having to move as many panels to get the board you need. ‘Just in time’ machining can finally be realised as manufacturers further embrace automation and digital technologies.

It's manufacturing what you need, when you need it, and it’s achieved with a clever and efficient use of space you already own. Winstore uses an open software platform and will work with any of the industry software programs as all of the software suppliers integrate with Biesse Winstore. Winstore is also a digital database with full visibility of existing stock, including any offcuts that can be stored in the warehouse, or catalogued by the software and stored externally. Winstore can also ‘defrag’ your stock for greater efficiency, and to use your oldest stock first.

A Focus on People, and Quality

Capital Veneering is now one of the larger joinery shops in the Canberra region, producing commercial joinery, kitchens and residential joinery, and custom made furniture. Their work mostly comes through architects and builders, with their core business being large commercial fitouts, multi-unit residential projects including kitchens, vanities, robes, and storage units; and office fitouts including reception counters, wall panelling, breakout areas and boardroom joinery.

Some of their notable projects are ACT Law Courts, AFP Headquarters, Attorney General’s Department, Adina Hotel, Canberra Centre, Canberra School of Music, John Curtin School of Medical Research, Department of Defence, Republic apartments, and Parliament House.

Capital Veneering currently employs a staff of 65 full time people including 30 on the workshop floor. Ben and James are focused on their people and run a social club that includes out-of-work activities and events. Capital Veneering also employs 12 apprentices and are committed to the future skills training in the industry. In fact, Ben taught apprentices at a TAFE College in the early days of the business.

What sets Capital Veneering apart is their attention to detail, old-fashioned hard work, and state-of-the-art Biesse Group equipment. The company maintains its roots from the detailed, high-end custom furniture and joinery that is still at the core of their business. Ben describes Capital Veneering as, “A company that embraces leading technology and innovation whether it’s in our systems, equipment or our thinking.” Over the last ten years Capital Veneering has won numerous awards and builders in Canberra will often be heard to say, “That’s a Capital Veneering job.”

Winstore is not just another piece of technology, its part of an integrated system that improves the output of your Biesse CNC machines, whether these are beam saws or machining centres. With a return on investment of only one year, massive savings in space, production time and staff, a reduction in material damage from manual handling or forklifts, coupled with improved performance from their three and five-axis CNC machines, Winstore provides Capital Veneering with significant benefits. Winstore really is the perfect solution.

Capital Veneering: Photo 1

We’ve never been afraid to invest in innovation. Yes, we’ve looked at other brands, but we are yet to find another machine with the same value as Biesse.

Ben Madden Managing Director
We’ve never been afraid to invest in innovation. Yes, we’ve looked at other brands, but we are yet to find another machine with the same value as Biesse.
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