Solid Core Door Production Line
Started in 1956 and headquartered in Holstein, Iowa, VT Industries, Inc., is North America’s leading manufacturer of architectural wood doors, postformed laminate countertops, and architectural stone surfaces.
VT Industries was immersed in a business growth strategy that required from an investment in two new Door Core Assembly Lines (CAM Line) for their plants in Holstein and Neenah, as well as further handling solutions for new CNC lines. The objective was to increase production capacity, automation and flexibility with new additional capabilities integrated in the factory.
The main challenge of the CAM Lines was to achieve the maximum optimization of the boards, regardless of the size and material-type of the board that was introduced into the line.
Biele Group developed a turn-key door production line which was divided into two different section: the Core Optimzer, where different panels are cut and glued together until the desired core size is completed, and the Frame Assembly, where rails, stiles and lock blocks are added.
The Composer is the part where the infeed panels need to be optimized, in a way that regardless the size of the infeed panel, the final composed core can be delivered in a batch size 1 basis. This may result in final cores composed by multiple different infeed panels, with a minimum waste of raw material.
This panel optimizing logic could not be understood without the Production Control system developed by Biele. According to David Streu, Automation & Engineering Manager in VT Industries, “The line calculates how much core material is needed to produce the cores required and can recalculate based on real world feed back to the system”.
By means of these two lines, VT Industries managed to increase consistently the production volumes as planned.
Due to the additional capacity of the new line, based on high automation level and deep machine intelligence, Eggers facilities were able to reduce from 3 shifts down to 2 shifts.
As a result of the line installation Neenah reduced core SKU’s from over 50 unique core parts to under 10. This allowed us to reduce overall inventory of core, freeing up valuable space in our warehouse.
The CAM lines developed both for Holstein and Eggers facilities, enabled VT to reach the production capacity goals set at the beginning of the project for single batch size door production.
According to David Streu’s words, “The Biele team functions as if they were an extension of the VT team. Their focus on communication and willingness to learn our process was key to the success of this project”.
Another signal that stands out Biele’s unique project management, is what Keith Horan says: “Biele demonstrated effective project management thoroughout the project, and it was much appreciated to coordinate and execute a complex project. One notable stand out was that Biele presented productivity and OEE numbers as part of their solution and worked collaboratively with VT to achieve these targets. Biele remained oriented towards solutions and took full ownership to meet and exceed VT’s expectations”.