A Dagenham joinery company has won business it wouldn’t have been able to take on without the market-leading woodworking software, Alphacam.

Within weeks of installing Alphacam Ultimate Router to drive their Biesse Rover C6 5-axis machining centre, K & D Joinery Ltd had been approached to undertake three complex jobs:
• Intricate Japanese lettering on solid European Oak
• A large ceiling feature for an exclusive restaurant in Regent Street, London
• Doors with curved fronts.

K & D ceiling raft“The ceiling project (pictured right), in particular, was especially complex,” says K & D Joinery’s operations director Jeremy Murphy. “In total it’s 45 metres long and 5 metres wide, made up of around 100 sheets of plywood, which are each 2,400 mm long and 1,220 mm wide. Our draftsmen, Arnie Schreiber and Craig Donald, drew approximately 200 pieces, and imported it into Alphacam which picked up all the individual shapes and nested them in the most economical way at the touch of a button. Arnie, who is our CAD expert, then finalised the CNC coding, and the machine cut the wood perfectly.

“To undertake 200 pieces of very ornate curve work with a jigsaw would not have been economical. In the current economic climate, Alphacam is helping us take a very important step in developing our business.”

K & D staircaseK & D Joinery are geared towards satisfying the bespoke market, with a range of windows, doors, staircases and handrails, along with speciality work. Over the years their skilled joiners have used traditional methods in hardwood, softwood and panels, but eventually they bought a Masterwood CNC machine to help manufacture staircases.

K & D Operations Director Jeremy MurphyWhen Jeremy Murphy (pictured right) joined the company he began looking at how new technology could assist them to develop even further, and they opted for the Biesse Rover C6, which he believes is one of the most advanced woodworking CNC machines in the UK. The standard software that came with it couldn’t handle the intricate work they wanted to do, to give them a competitive edge. “I researched the market and found that Alphacam, from the Planit Group, was the best software solution for our needs. The Biesse machine can produce doors, windows and frames for us, and it can also do curved work on a 3-axis basis. However, what really appealed to us was that it can do 5-axis work such as continuous handrails and a variety of shaped work that other companies could not contemplate taking on because they can’t handle the complexity.  Planit wrote a post processor so that Alphacam can drive the Biesse on a 5-axis basis, providing maximum yield and quality in the shortest possible time.”

A particularly valuable part of the software is the Automated Parametric Manufacturing (APM). “We don’t make products for the mass market,” says Jeremy Murphy. “While we have a core background of products, the detail is individual for each architect, main contractor, sub contractor, specifier and surveyor we work with, as they all want something bespoke. For example, a window we make this week may be 20% different next week – a different height, different width, or different glazing detail. APM means that once we’ve created a window frame with a set height and width, we can change any of the parameters, and all the machine settings change with K & D CNC operator  Ivan Lymarit. It makes processing and machining very simple.”

He describes K & D Joinery as a 21st Century company that works with traditional ideals. “Using Alphacam, we can apply modern technology to traditional joinery. We still have highly skilled craftsmen who will hand carve from solid wood, but now we’re able to assist them by putting some of the work through the Biesse with Alphacam. Without Alphacam we could not have undertaken the Japanese writing or the ceiling feature, it’s as simple as that. We are now quickly adapting ourselves in a difficult market place, and understanding that the technical boundaries have been broadened.”

            CNC operator Ivan Lymar

K & D WorkshopLarry Kearns, the MD and owner, has a strong team including his brother John, the Production Director. Their previous premises were compulsorily purchased in 2006 as they were sited directly under the main Olympic stadium! They now operate from a 30,000 square foot workshop (pictured left) and offices on a one-and-a-half acre site in Dagenham, with 50 employees, having an extensive skills range to take their creativity to the next level with Alphacam. 
 K & D draftsmen Arnie Schreiber and Craig Donald    

Draftsmen Arnie Schreiber (left)
and Craig Donald

“Alphacam means we can produce solutions for projects that would have stumped us before, allowing us to take on work we couldn’t have done previously. It gives us a very competitive edge, and that’s extremely important in the current economic climate.”

As well as the top of the range Alphacam Ultimate which supports full 4/5-axis simultaneous machining for furniture manufacturers and high-specification joiners like K & D Joinery, Alphacam Router is also available at three other levels:
• Essential is the ideal entry level product for basic 2D CNC work. This module offers the fundamental tools required for CAD/CAM production, including nesting of parts from the screen, and 3D Engraving.
• Standard is the perfect product for shops and subcontractors. This module offers all the functionality of the Essential package with additional support for nesting of parts from a nest list, horizontal machining, reusable machining data (Machining Styles), and much more.
• Advanced is targeted at manufacturers who work with complex, free-form patterns and tools. In addition to the functionality of the lower level modules, this module offers complex 3D machining strategies, solid model importing and feature extraction, constrained parametric part creation and much more.

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