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Linear digital measurement solutions.


Located in Wahpeton, ND, PrimeWood is a division of Woodcraft Industries and produces a broad line of some of the finest hardwood and laminated componentry in the industry.

Woodcraft opened its doors in 1945 in St. Cloud, MN, as a small cabinet and fixture shop. In the years that followed, Woodcraft has grown to include seven facilities and is one of the nation's leading manufacturers of volume hardwood and laminated components, with a strong commitment to meeting customers' exact specifications.

The PrimeWood division specializes in engineered component parts laminated with veneer, vinyl or paper. "We have three divisions within PrimeWood," explained Alan Torrance, quality assurance manager. "On the profile wrapping side, we have door stops, door jambs, window extension jambs, door components and specialty products for the OEM market. We also have our veneered raised panels going into the kitchen and bath industry, which also include doors and furniture component parts.

"And thirdly, we have our rigid thermofoil (RTF) product used in traditional kitchen and bath applications as well as within the industrial markets for desk tops, office furniture and other commercial products."


For many years, PrimeWood had various levels of quality control in its plant, but the need for continuous improvement and tighter specifications was driven by its customers. Torrance explained, "In the industry it really comes down to competitors having the same products and the same service--the only differentiation between them is who has the better quality.

"To ensure quality, taking measurements with tape measures during the production process wouldn't cut it anymore, "Torrance added. That's when PrimeWood turned to Accurate Technology and the ProScale digital measuring units.

"When I came here a few years ago, they were using 24-in. and 40-in. calipers that were being dropped and damaged all of the time," stated Tom Erhart, quality engineer for PrimeWood. "We turned to ProScale and retrofitted those devices onto calipers for more precise measurement."

According to Erhart, they also used the ProScale linear measurement units on the router, the moulder and several other areas throughout the shop to give them the precise measurements they needed.

"We also required a tight range of measurements on certain other manufactured products, so we bought several ProTables from Accurate Technology," explained Torrance. "What it comes down to are the critical dimensions and the customer requirements. It's important to us to hit those measurements every time." The ProTable is a self-contained, single-axis measuring table and/or QC station with SPC output.


Erhart explained, "Our mission is 'quality is no mistake.' Through quality we're able to reduce scrap, which in turn puts our manufacturing in a better position and keeps our costs down."

The Quality Assurance Department is made up of Torrance, Erhart and Lenn Sandahl. Quality control centers are set up in four areas throughout the plant, with each area responsible for specific quality tasks. The requirements are posted in each center. "Those centers include Accurate Technology ProTables and ProScales, plus on-line prints, each customized specifically for that center," described Torrance.

PrimeWood's quality program, utilizing Accurate Technology products, has paid off so well that the company has been able to invest in additional Accurate Technology linear digital measuring products. "Not only have we bought more equipment for our process, we've purchased the same Accurate Technology equipment for all seven locations within Woodcraft Industries," stated Erhart. "Most companies look at investing in more production equipment to produce more product. But if you invest in measuring quality, you'll produce less scrap and produce more, at less cost."
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Title Annotation:IWF 2006 TECHNOLOGY TOUR
Comment:Linear digital measurement solutions.(IWF 2006 TECHNOLOGY TOUR)
Publication:Wood & Wood Products
Date:Jun 1, 2006
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