Decorator Industries, located in Abbotsford, WI has been manufacturing custom crafted interior furnishings for the hospitality industry since 1953. Over the last 50 years they have grown into a world-leading manufacturer by focusing on their mission to supply the highest quality experience to both their customers and employees. For their customers, they are a “first cut” producer, meaning they only use the best (first) fabrics produced by top choice vendors. For their employees they offer per-piece profit sharing and are continuously investing in automation to improve employee productivity (and therefore raising per-piece throughput). When they began bidding a job to replace all of the window blinds, shades, and black-out curtains for a nation-wide hotel chain in the fall of 2015, they turned to Carlson Design to automate their blind cutting.
Cutting window treatments by hand is difficult, time consuming, and wasteful. Each cut must be measured and squared for the blind to properly roll and unroll. They currently do not have the right tools to make these cuts, or seal the edge, or maximize their material yield. This means they are throwing away a lot of expensive first-cut material, and producing few finished parts to show for it.
The Carlson Design PTi-132″ Plotter/Cutter with our NEW Ultra-Sonic Cutting Head and Autonesting software. The Carlson Design Ultra-Sonic advantage allows them to solve all of these problems, making fast, straight, sealed-edge cuts, with maximum material yield.
“I don’t think we would have gotten the job if we didn’t have your system. [The Plotter/Cutter] allows for quicker delivery and lets us save a lot of fabric.” Chris Hannula, Business Development Specialist for DEC Ind. “Those savings were the difference that kept the job from going to [large competitor].”
|Plotter Cutter Model||PTi-132 Plotter/Cutter|
|Plotter Cutter Width||132 Inches|
|Maximum Material Size
Maximum Cut Width
|Table Length||16′ Long Phillocraft Vacuum Table|
|Vacuum Blowers||2 x 5 HP Radial Blowers|
The Ultra-Sonic System:
The Carlson Design Ultra-Sonic Cutting Head is world’s simplest sealed-edge cutting solution when speed and accuracy are essential. We ensure a standardized and easily supported system by integrating a JTE Machine Ultra-Sonic cutting tool onto our rigid Pro PTi-132″ gantry. At 132″ wide, we can Plot/Cut up to 120″ (3m) wide material. The system rides on a 11’x16′ Phillocraft vacuum table, with a custom-drilled metal cutting surface. The Plotter/Cutter and Ultra-Sonic tool are controlled using our Plotmaster Software suite — including autonesting. The results are:
“The Cutter runs everyday and works Great!”
In just over six months of ownership Decorator Industries has cut over 4000 blinds on their Ultra-Sonic Plotter/Cutter system. Let’s look at some of their real results:
FASTER: Average cut time is almost 90% faster. Jobs that took days are now cut in hours.
SEALED EDGE: Blinds now have a sealed edge – eliminating freying and improving product life and durability.
BETTER QUALITY: Cuts are straighter, more square, and with their sealed edge they “Look much more professional”.
MATERIAL SAVINGS: Autonesting improved material yield in some cases by over 100% and improved their competitive pricing by at least $80,000.
Faster Cuts, Faster Delivery:
“Speeding up our cut time let us deliver much faster — which the customer always wants. We definitely think this helped us get the order we purchased the machine to fill.” Before automating, the prospect of cutting 100 shades would take a dedicated employee working days. Chris Hannula reported “It now takes about two hours to cut 120 shades. Before [the Plotter/Cutter] it would have taken two days or more. And that’s without having a sealed edge.”
According to Chris, the Plotter/Cutter takes approximately one minute to cut one shade, which is easy to believe after watching the above video. Cutting by hand it can take 8-10 minutes.
This means they have saved ~500-600 man hours on the 4000 screens they’ve cut since purchasing their Plotter/Cutter.
Sealed Edge Advantage:
“The sealed edge and cut quality have really made everything look a lot more professional. No more frey’s, and the cuts are much straighter and squarer”. The Ultra-Sonic cutting tool is the fastest solution for achieving a sealed edge — capable of cutting up to 30 IPS. Sealing the edge of a blind makes a big difference in quality — check out the comparison between a sealed and non-sealed edge in the video below.
Saving Material Made Easy:
Decorator Industries only cuts “first cut” fabric — which means it’s the best. However, it also means it’s the most expensive. When hand cutting, they would cross cut the roll at the length of each shade — often throwing away as much or more scrap than finished product. Using our Autonesting software they were able to fit twice as many panels in the same amount of material.
If the average blind is two yards long, then at $10/yard they have saved ~$80,000 in material on then 4000 shades they’ve cut to date.
That savings is huge when competitively quoting a big job — “and the difference that kept the job from going to [large competitor]”.
One of their first jobs consisted of 138 of one size rectangle (45.5×56.5) and 167 of another (57.25×68.5). We ran these patterns through our autonester and quickly determined the needed to cut 69 nested tables. “The great thing about Autonesting is how easy it is to change the quantity.” Running at 15IPS, each table cut in 1:56. All 305 patterns were cut in half-a-day, with maximum material yield.
Even simple patterns, like 1.5″ strips, can benefit from nesting — below we utilize and existing piece of “scrap” material to cut trim strips.
“One of our only complaints is we want to be able to cut even more on the table.” Let’s do it!
The Ultra-Sonic cutting head can plot/cut much more than just rectangles. During the installation we helped them cut elastic triangles, different upholstery materials, and even lettering.
We’d like to give a big thank you to Chris, Jordan, and the rest of the team at Decorator Industries for helping make this a great installation. We look forward to hearing about the future jobs sold, and the time and material saved.
They had their table assembled and leveled before we arrived. This allowed us to finish their entire installation by 1pm on the first day of the install. That allowed for more time to focus on software training and exploring additional opportunity.