August 22 - 25, 2018

Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA| USA

Check the latest article for IWF atlanta users

Create Better with PaperStone Labs

by Editor 7. May 2018 11:13

By: Kim Loftis, Caragreen

 Mar 06, 2018  - Hoquiam, Washington

 PaperStone has launched its latest venture, PaperStone Labs, to help designers, architects and innovators get a sneak peek into what really goes on behind the scenes at its Washington think tank. PaperStone Labs is a place to go if you have an idea that you would like to collaborate on and help bring to market. Want a new color? Ask PaperStone Labs. Is there a textured finish you would love to see? Ask PaperStone labs. Need a specific resin made for your application? Ask our scientists.

Long thought to be just a countertop, PaperStone is much more. The proprietary resin developed by PaperStone is tweaked and modified for a myriad of applications including pool tables, guitar parts, knives, and more. Behind the scenes, PaperStone collaborates with OEM manufacturers to make the perfect material for their applications.

One of the recent innovations that have come out of PaperStone Labs include GatorSkins, the most durable, least-wearing skate ramp material on the market. Competing against large skate ramp suppliers, skaters prefer GatorSkins small company feel and the handholding throughout the process and ease of getting the material.

Another creation, CharredStone, is a textured vertical panel that can be used to emulate charred timber without the wear and durability issues of the burned wood itself. CharredStone has the durability of PaperStone but is lightweight and very cost effective.

Our Labs released PaperStone Cladding, an exterior product comprised of a PaperStone core, but incorporating a more UV stable cap sheet to ensure fading is kept to a minimum and performance and durability are unmatched.

Long forced into organic neutral colors as a result of the base resin, PaperStone Labs came up with an innovative technique to create lighter colors which are incredibly stable and show very little wear over time.

Have an idea for PaperStone Labs? Share it with us. We want to give innovators a place to speak their minds and work with our material scientists and chemists to create better.

To learn more about this topic, check out the "Innovation in Composite Materials" session at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

Tags:

It is not the team with the most talent that succeeds….it is the most talented team”

by Editor 1. May 2018 15:32

By: Gary Vitale, GFV Business Advisory

We all strive to hire the best individuals for positions in our company; and we evaluate these individuals on an annual basis.  But how often do we evaluate them as a team?  How often do we really sit back and look at the talent gaps that are keeping us from reaching maximum performance as a company?   We can learn a lot from professional sports teams that evaluate talent gaps all the time.

Sports teams recognize that to succeed they need players that complement each other’s strengths.  Done correctly, this is powerful and gives the team a slight edge that can mean the difference between a win or a loss, or getting into post season tournaments verses watching from home.

Unfortunately for businesses, we do not have the luxury of observing or “scouting” candidates in game situations like professional sports teams.  We must rely on other tools; interviews, references, and professional assessments.  And just like a sports team, when these tools are used correctly, it gives you a powerful edge over the competition.

The best way to give yourself that slight edge over the competition is to know your strengths and the strengths of your team.  The first step is to learn all you can about yourself and your team using interviews and professional assessments.  You’ll be surprised to see how much easier it is to manage through crisis and challenges when you understand your strengths and those of your team members and can match them to address specific situations.

Tags:

Compressor vs. HVLP Turbine System

by Editor 1. May 2018 15:28

By: Jim Larin, Fuji Spray

Which is Better: A Compressor System or an HVLP Turbine System?

When it comes to spray equipment, different systems, such as a compressor system or HVLP turbine system, have different capacities. Depending on the type of outcome you’re looking for, you may use one system over the other. Each has their advantages and drawbacks, and knowing which one to use can improve your operations and save you both time and money.

Here’s what you need to know when choosing which system is best for you and your spraying needs:

A compressor system offers a faster speed of application

A compressor sprayer applies material with more power and at a higher speed. An HVLP system must spray material at lower air pressure levels (below 10 psi), while compressor systems spray material at higher air pressure levels (20-90 psi, depending on the specific system). We find that for production workshops and manufacturing facilities working with a high number of products or larger surface areas, the speed of a compressor sprayer is advantageous.

An HVLP turbine system is more environmentally friendly

While a compressor system operates at a faster speed, the HVLP sprayer’s slower, more precise application also offers benefits. For example, an HVLP turbine system’s application results in less overspray and ‘bounce-back,’ as paint and finish particles are less likely to rebound into the air. In fact, in certain areas of the United States, such as Southern California, you’ll find that high-pressure compression systems are prohibited entirely. As a result, compressor spray systems require higher safety standards, including a well-ventilated spray area or even a spray booth.

Certain materials require more preparation with HVLP turbine systems

The pressure settings of an HVLP system can be adjusted – but they cannot be increased beyond the maximum limit of 10 PSI, and this maximum limit is lower than that of compressor systems. So, in order for higher viscosity materials to be applied properly, they must be diluted.

HVLP turbine systems are portable, but compressor systems are not

Since turbine systems are light and compact, the entire system is portable. We find that being able to spray or do touch-ups on any job site can be very beneficial. Even having the option to move your unit indoors or outdoors can help when spraying specific projects. Compressor systems are not mobile, and this yields less flexibility and last-minute fixes.

Ultimately, both HVLP turbine systems and compressor systems will get the job done quicker and more effectively than using a paintbrush and rag or roller. The decision of which system to use largely depends on your operations, whether you’re a DIYer or an avid, professional sprayer. Contact the experts at Fuji Spray to learn more about the features of each system and to find out which one is right for you.

 Learn more about this at Jim's session, "Benefits of Portable Spray Finishing System in a Small to Medium Sized Production Shop Setting" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

Tags:

What exactly is “Modern Design” anyway?

by Editor 30. April 2018 10:54

By: Shelley Wehner, Cabinet Concepts by Design

Your prospective customer says they prefer a modern look, but you’re not quite sure what they mean. To put it simply, modern design focuses on minimalism, neutral colors, clean lines and environmentally-friendly materials. Modernism, at its core, rejects ornate flourishes of other design styles. Now that you understand the general meaning, specifically how would you implement modern design elements in the kitchen décor and other areas of the home?

Clean Straight Lines

Modern design is the antithesis of the previous design styles which used heavy textures, carvings and wood tones throughout the home. Because of this, most components of modern design from the furniture to the shape of the rooms include clean, straight lines with no additional detail. There are several different design types that fall into this category, particularly for furnishings, such as:

  • Mission style
  • Art Deco
  • Shaker

Any of these or other clean, spare furnishings are an integral part of modern interior design. Paired with the furnishings are things like:

  • Oversized tiles with rectified edges
  • Sanded wood floors that minimize the grain
  • Bookcases and shelves inset into walls, rather than protruding into the space
  • Open floor plans with few walls
  • Lack of moldings trimming windows, doors and walls

Use of Metal

Chrome and stainless steel make up a big part of modern design. Doing away with traditional metal details, like wrought iron for example, opens up the door for clean, polished metals to be used instead.

It's not uncommon to see chrome or stainless steel as part of the furniture, such as table legs or exposed portions of a chair's frame. Chrome is used extensively throughout the home seen in faucets, doorknobs, cabinet handles, lamps and railings. Polished chrome has a very high shine and a slightly blue undertone that makes it appear very cold, which helped it fit in well with modern design's mission for moving away with older, more "lived in" styles.

Minimalism

Minimalism plays an integral part in modern design, as well as contemporary modern design and contemporary design. The basics of minimalism include a "less is more" approach to designing a space. This means there are no superfluous details such as columns, moldings, cabinet trim, excessive use of color or excessive use of textiles.

Minimalist design can be thought of as sparse, but in reality it takes a lot of planning to ensure that what's included in the home is absolutely necessary. Minimalist homes are often far more comfortable than they appear, due to the way they are streamlined for efficiency.

Lack of Clutter

A lack of clutter ties into the minimalist approach to modern design. While clutter can mean many things to different people, in regards to modern design it refers primarily to accessories. This means no knick-knacks, vases, pottery, collections or excessive use of throw pillows, rugs or blankets. Any necessary items, including books, electronics and keepsakes are kept either out of sight inside a cabinet or closet, or are built into the home with built in shelves or hidden storage beneath benches or window seats.

Bold Accent Colors

The majority of homes decorated in modern styles use neutral colors and shades of black and white throughout the home. Bold, often primary, colors are only used as accents to help break up the neutrals and provide focal points. These colors are often introduced sparingly, and rarely used as an all-over wall color. Examples of how to use bold colors in modern design may include:

  • Abstract wall art
  • A single piece of furniture in a bold color like a red leather sofa or an orange plastic chair
  • A few bold-colored throw pillows
  • A single bold-colored throw rug

Learn more about modern design during a lively panel discussion during IWF called “Acing that modern job”. The panel features myself and two others who do modern work. We will explain our methods and tricks for executing award-winning modern cabinetry and millwork.

Tags:

But I Don’t Want to Run a Software Company

by Editor 30. April 2018 10:49

By: Randall S. Becker. Factory Automation Consultant. CBD of Central Ontario.

At IWF Atlanta 2016, we saw a virtual cornucopia of sparkling new hardware on the floor that made us all tremble with glee and panic at the same time. An increasing requirement to use these fantastic productivity assists is full-on automation. Sure, you could always do it by hand, and keep your factory small and rustic, but to really grow, you probably have already decided that automation is the thing. Even existing products, like edge banders, which are notoriously hands-on, are getting technology face lifts. That’s right, when you wear out your awesome five-year-old bander that did so much for you, you may find that the new one has a sparkling new screen on it, with network connectivity, automatic this, barcode that, and oh my goodness how are you going to use it, and don’t touch the screen with glue and solvent on those hands.

The advice in 2016 was, “Go hire your teenage kids because they know all about computers”. I’ve been a teenage kid, really. I swear. And back then, yes, I was a wunderkind, who could program up a storm on almost anything. But I am not normal or representative, then or now. Understanding how to use a smart phone or laptop is a lot different than running a CNC or bander. Here’s why, and what you might want to consider:

Running a CNC is more than hitting the green start button. The production side of your company, the factory, the part of your organization where the dust collection is so important, is about running the machines consistently and following the regular processes. That hasn’t changed much although the tools of the trade have become really complicated compared to even ten years ago. There’s a good chance you can teach existing staff how to use the automation. The number of steps required to run one of those machines is not that large, and it mostly comes down to lubrication and cleanliness. It is the development side of the shop that has really evolved to confound you – you may not be calling it that, yet.

The development side is where you are becoming a software company. The role of your designer/cutlister/CNC coder – you know, the kid you were supposed to hire – must understand how to get from an idea to a set of instructions that a big machine, which can do real damage, can understand. As a low-tech owner/craft-master, you could understand the tooling and techniques required to get from the idea in your idea to a set of instructions for people in the back. That kid should do the same thing, except there are no people in the back to talk to, there’s a laser, or router, or bander glue feed, or inventory robots. I don’t envy them – well, I do really because for me it’s a lot of fun -but they need to understand and embrace your entire business and understand the nuances of each tool. They are not using a computer, they are telling a computer how to control very expensive and potentially destructive tools.

The secret sauce is to be able to follow a development to production process that includes quality control and testing of components that are being sent to the factory. I’m pretty sure that I never heard most of those words when I was a kid. Software development processes are very similar to coming up with a new design for a table. You must make sure your designs are going to work before you send it into production and repeated exactly thousands of times – you don’t want to have to replace them all if a joint is cut badly or improperly fastened, exactly as told to the machinery, right? What I learned from being involved in factory automation is that you need to have a level of process maturity that comes with experience. You need the technology background, sure, but you also need to know the business. As the owner/manager, you need to have people who are know how to program your machines and can take direction to follow your manufacturing processes. That’s not a kid with a phone.

Learn more about this subject during Randall's session, "Managing Your Soft Assets - Advanced Manufacturing Processes for Managing Your CAD Component Designs and More" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

Tags:

Pricing for Profitably

by Editor 27. April 2018 11:37

By: Sean Benetin, Millwork & More, LLC

Every woodworker I know struggles with pricing. If you have reviewed FMDC magazine’s annual pricing survey, you know that quotes for the same project vary drastically from company to company, and it’s not just the regional factor. Why is this so difficult?

Quite simply, it’s difficult to be competitive and still make a profit. So how do you find the balance?

In truth, pricing is not nearly as complicated as it appears. However, in order to profitably price projects, you need to know the answers to the following questions:

  • What is your hourly rate(s)?
  • What is your minimum break even yearly/monthly/weekly?
  • How much do you pay yourself as an “employee” of your company?
  • Total invested in your company? If you had to start from scratch tomorrow what would it cost?

Easier said than done, right? How do you even begin to calculate these things? How can you put a value on what some may consider “intangibles”? Do you wish that there was a “cheat sheet” that you could use? Why isn’t there an Easy Button for pricing and profitability?

Here’s the good news: there is an Easy Button – an actual “cheat sheet” does exist. I have taken the time to develop spreadsheets and pricing structures to calculate the numbers needed to price profitably. And, here’s even better news: I’m willing to share this information with you.

During my seminar at IWF, you will have the opportunity to learn “The Art of Pricing Profitably”.  In an straight-forward way, I explain the importance of knowing your numbers. Not only will you gain an understanding of key financial concepts, you will also leave with prepared spreadsheets that you can use to do your own calculations.  Essentially the class will set you up for future success. Consider this your springboard to profitability.  

Tags:

Sustainable Innovation is Built on Trust

by Editor 27. April 2018 11:28

By: Monique MacKinnon, Energetic Evolution

Everything is energy. And since hugging a tree can benefit our mental and physical well-being, do different woods elicit different moods? The simple answer is yes.

Woodworkers and furniture manufacturers can also influence customers’ states: through their craft and level of consciousness. Consider this: How do you respond to people who trust you? Are you more likely to trust or distrust them? On the consciousness scale, trust is in the neutral position.

Therefore, if you trust yourself, does trusting others come more easily to you than for someone with trust issues? Do you prefer doing business with and being someone with a toned trust muscle, developed through years of discernment? If your company or business is known for being trustworthy and reliable, how does this affect your and your sphere of influence’s prosperity and quality of life?

We will deep dive beyond tree hugging into where you most trust yourself to be successfully and sustainably innovative in the woodworking industry.

 Learn more about this topic during the "Sustainable Innovation is Built on Trust" at the IWF 2018 Education Conference.

 

 

Tags:

General

BLUE LIGHT

by Editor 26. April 2018 13:52

A COMPANY MAKING BUMPERS FOR SEMI TRUCKS HAD ADOPTED THE IDEAS IN THE GOAL, IDENTIFIED WELDING AS THEIR BOTTLENECK, MADE GREAT PROGRESS BUT EVENTUALLY RAN OUT OF CAPACITY AT WELDING.  THEIR SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM WAS TO EXPAND THE PLANT, BUY MORE EQUIPMENT AND HIRE MORE WELDERS – A SOLUTION, BUT NOT THE TODAY SOLUTION THAT CORPORATE WANTED.  SO THEY ASKED TO TAKE A SECOND LOOK.    

WE REVIEWED THE PRODUCTION DATA WITH PLANT MANAGER WHICH SUPPORTED THAT THEY WERE OUT OF CAPACITY.  WE SAID IN OUR EXPEREINCE THERE IS ALWAYS AT LEAST 25% HIDDEN CAPACITY, BUT INSTEAD OF ARGUING WE SUGGESTED THAT WE DIRECTLY OBSERVE WELDING.  BEFORE OBSERVING AN OPERATION WE ALWAYS DEVELOP A MENTAL IMAGE OF WHAT GOOD SHOULD LOOK LIKE (WGLL).  OUR MENTAL IMAGE WAS THAT WE WOULD SEE A LOT OF BLUE LIGHT –  WELDING TORCHES ON AND SPARKS FLYING.

WE TOOK A POSITION WHERE WE COULD SEE THREE WELDING BOOTHS – THERE WAS BLUE LIGHT BEHIND EACH METAL CHAIN SCREEN.  AFTER A FEW MINUTES THE BLUE LIGHT WENT OUT IN ONE BOOTH, THE WELDER SHUT DOWN HIS TORCH TOOK OFF HIS MASK AND GLOVES, WENT TO THE NEXT BOOTH, TAPPED THE WELDER ON THE SHOULDER AND SPOKE TO HIM.  THE SECOND WELDER REMOVED HIS MASK, GLOVES AND TURNED OFF HIS TORCH.  HE ACCOMPANIED THE FIRST WELDER TO HIS BOOTH AND HELPED HIM LIFT SOME VERY HEAVY WELDED BUMPERS OFF THE TABLE AND LIFT SOME UNWELDED BUMPERS ONTO THE TABLE AND RETURNED TO HIS BOOTH.

THE FIRST WELDER DIDN’T IMMMEDIATELY BEGIN WELDING AND SEEMED TO BE SCRAPEING SOMETHING OFF THE BUMPERS.  THE PLANT MANAGER, NOTING OUR PUZZLEMENT, EXPLAINED THAT THEY PUT A PLASTIC FILM ON THE BUMPERS TO KEEP THEM FROM GETTING SCUFFED AND SCRATCHED AS THEY MOVED THROUGH THE PLANT.  THE WELDERS NEEDED TO SCRAPE OFF A SMALL AREA IN ORDER TO WELD ON THE STRUTS.   WHILE WE WERE TALKING THE BLUE LIGHT IN THE THIRD BOOTH WENT OUT.  THE WELDER EMERGED, TOOK A HAND TRUCK, MOVED THE COMPLETED WORK OUT OF THE BOOTH AND WENT TO LOOK FOR THE NEXT JOB.  SINCE WELDING WAS THE BOTTLNECK, THERE WERE MANY JOBS TO BE WELDED – A LARGE PILE.  AS THE READER SUSPECTS, THE NEXT JOB WAS NEAR THE BACK OF THE PILE, WHICH REQUIRED MOVING MANY PALLETS TO REACH IT.

THE PLANT MANAGER TURNED TO US AND SAID “SEE MY PEOPE ARE WORKING ALL THE TIME”.  WE AGREED, THE WELDERS WERE BUSTING THEIR BUTTS.  AT THE SAME TIME THERE WAS VERY LITTLE BLUE LIGHT.  TWO DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES OF THE SAME SITUATION.  RATHER THAN SUGGEST SPECIFIC IDEAS ON HOW THEY COULD PRODUCE MORE, WE SIMPLY SHARED OUR PERSPECTIVE – VERY LITTLE BLUE LIGHT.

HOW DO YOU THINK THE PLANT MANAGER REACTED?  WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE TO INCREASE PRODUCTION?

LEARN THE RESULTS IN OUR NEXT BLOG AND COME CHECK OUR SESSION "RESULTS MATTER" AT THE IWF 2018 EDUCATION CONFERENCE.

 

 

Tags:

The Six Steps to Getting Anywhere

by Editor 26. April 2018 13:47

By: Gary Vitale, GVF Business Advisory

Why does it seem so effortless for some businesses and sports teams to succeed?  What is it that makes it look so easy?

I have looked at these questions from the sports angle as well as the business angle and the one common factor for success, whether in business or sports is they both have a well thought out process they follow and engrain in their teams.  They tirelessly communicate this process and make sure everyone from the lowest level in the organization understands what is required of them and what their specific job is.  And, they hold each team member accountable for doing their job.  So how do you develop a process that makes sense for your company and your team?

The first step is to really understand where you are now.  Only then can you begin to develop a road map to get you where you want to go.  And in the business world, this can mean you have more than one team working towards the same goals but going in different directions.  Sometimes it can get complicated.

To solve this problem and give each team the proper directions I have found the “MapQuest” process of problem solving to be extremely helpful.  Not only can it be used to get you from point A to point B, but it gives each team member input and a clear understanding of what success means.

In simple terms, the “Six Steps to Getting Anywhere” follows the MapQuest process.

  1. Where are you now?
  2. Where do you want to go?
  3. How do you get there?
  4. How long will it take?
  5. How much will it cost?
  6. What are the alternate routes?

Like any other journey, proper preparation makes the trip more enjoyable.  But make no mistake, there will be roadblocks and detours and how your team reacts to these setbacks can make the difference between success and failure.  However, if you keep your eye on the end point and go back to the process when you get stuck, eventually you will get where you want to go.

Successful coaches and business executives spend countless hours on their process.  They revise the process over time to address rule changes or changes in the business environment and continually educate their team members to ensure they get the best results when a new situation arises.  The “Process” is not a one and done thing.  It continues to evolve and improve.  Make sure you give it the time and energy that each of the six steps requires and you will achieve the success you are looking for and will have competitors looking at your team and wondering how you do it year after year.

Tags:

Biophilia - What is it?

by Editor 26. April 2018 11:51

By Jessica McNaughton, CaraGreen

Biophilia? No, it is not some nefarious relationship with plants. Well, not entirely. This hot new design trend is not some “look” or color scheme, it’s a set of design techniques that put people before profits in building construction. While some people are quick to put biophilic design in the category of “another green building standard,” it is absolutely not.

Biophilic design has made its entrée into the design community with data in hand to back up its claims. Unlike some other green building standards, which needed to be put in place and operated for some time in order to prove that they were worthwhile (think Green Globes, LEED), Biophilic principles have existed for decades and their results are widely known. It is just now that design professionals and researchers are pulling these together en masse and presenting them under the umbrella of biophilic design.

There are three pillars of Biophilic Design: Nature in the Space, Nature of the Space and Natural Analogues. To simplify, Nature in the Space is literally incorporating nature into the space. Adding water, plants, fish ponds, herbs etc.

By definition, humans are drawn to nature and natural things. Nature stimulates the parasympathetic system and lowers stress. Studies have shown that walks outside, being around trees and nature in general lower stress levels. Studies also show that employees are more productive, hospital stays are shorter, and patients use less medication when biophilic design is used.* The data exists and it is compelling. That is why the architect and design community is embracing the biophilic concepts in their upcoming projects. It is not a ground-up concept either; biophilic design can be incorporated after the fact using plants or greenery, reconfiguring furniture, incorporating sound control or in a myriad of other ways.

Biophilic design is not a credit based standard either, where you need to achieve a number of points in order to hit a certification level. It is not some placard you mount on your building to give yourselves a high-five for building green. It is about the health of the building occupants and it is not an all-or-nothing approach. You can use one design element or hundreds of instances. It is whatever works for your space.

 

Tags: