PDF iconSimplifying the Complex

Kellerman Kitchen & Bath increases efficiency, quality and capabilities with Alphacam.

Sacrificing quality to stay competitive isn’t an option for Jack Kellerman, a long-time kitchen and bath professional whose reputation is built on delivering the best.

Partnered with his brother, Kurt, Kellerman opened Kellerman Kitchen & Bath in 1995 after noticing a significant absence in high-quality kitchen and bath showrooms in Baton Rouge and its surrounding areas.

“I was doing a kitchen remodel for myself and saw the void in the Baton Rouge market from a professional design aspect,” says Kellerman, who holds a five-year degree in landscape architecture. “No one had a showroom.”

In addition to offering clientele a kitchen and bath showroom that aids in the visualization of the final product, the Kellerman company’s website serves as a step-by-step guide for everything from budgeting to appliance selection and “living through a remodel.”

“People want to see more than pretty pictures,” Kellerman says. “They’re looking for information that’s going to help them.”

The company acquired the Cabnetware design-to-manufacturing solution by Vero Software before serving its first client, and continues to use the solution for cabinet production.

In 2000, Kellerman Kitchen & Bath purchased its first CNC router, along with a CAM package to program the new equipment. Kellerman implemented the new router, but found over time that the new CAM package wasn’t able to serve all of the company’s needs. Kellerman's imaginative designs required a more dynamic and flexible manufacturing tool that would truly unlock the capabilities of his CNC.

“I absolutely love Alphacam. To be able to make money at creating custom parts, you have to be able to program them quickly and efficiently. Alphacam has made it so easy and so fast to program these things, and that’s the real advantage.”

Jack Kellerman, Co-owner

In 2014, Kellerman was given a demonstration of the Alphacam computer-aided-manufacturing (CAM) solution for woodworking, metal, and stone cutting. Alphacam, also by Vero Software, offers tooling and machining techniques unique to the woodworking industry.

“The CAM software that we purchased with our CNC machine was cumbersome and inefficient,” he says. “If it took me four hours in the old software, I can now do it in an hour. It was taking too long to do the same things. With its limitations, it was not as powerful as the Alphacam software.”

In addition to Alphacam, the workforce at the company includes five staff members, a Komo 3-axis CNC router with an eight-tool carousel, additional routers, and common woodworking tools.

“We got Alphacam, plugged it in and used it,” Kellerman says. “In the demonstration, I quickly said, ‘We’re buying this.’ It’s unbelievable what it can do compared to what we’d been using.”

To hear Kellerman describe it, using Alphacam is simply a matter of connecting the dots and hitting the ‘Go’ button. He received online training and soon after began using the software to make parts. “I draw the part, apply toolpaths, simulate the machining, generate code, and cut,” he says. “Once you look at it and it looks good, creating G-code is as simple as hitting a button. It’s the simplest process there is.”

As parts couldn’t be designed in the company’s former CAM software, Kellerman used a computer-aided-design (CAD) system to perform step one, the drawing process. However, the switch to Alphacam eliminated the need for a separate CAD system.

“Alphacam can design and generate code,” Kellerman says, “so if you’re new to CAM, you don’t have to learn a CAD system too. It’s an advantage of Alphacam that you have CAD features within the system to draw even complex geometry.”

Kellerman utilizes Alphacam for his more unique, complex projects in demand at Kellerman Kitchen & Bath, as well as for a second business that entails the manufacturing of complex profiles and multiple-part assemblies.

“I’ve got a proprietary product that I sell on the Internet,” he explains. “It’s got seven individual components that make up the whole product.”

Kellerman takes advantage of Alphacam’s advanced nesting capabilities to efficiently cut multiple parts of varying dimensions. One recent project entailed programming and cutting 85 parts in seven different shapes, for a total of 595 pieces.  

“I just select the thickness of the material and hit ‘nest,’” he says. “It saves a lot of time. “All the time is in the programming, and it’s really cool that I can take a project and do nearly all of the manufacturing on the computer.”

For some of his custom jobs, Kellerman uses a combination of Alphacam and Aspire, an Alphacam add-in that allows the user to import an image, such as a photograph, to create geometry in Alphacam. The geometry for one of Kellerman’s recent custom jobs, which included a complex profile, was created in Alphacam in just a few minutes using a .JPG file e-mailed by a customer.

“Creating the geometry for that part would have taken four to six hours by hand,” Kellerman says.  “I absolutely love Alphacam. To be able to make money at creating custom parts, you have to be able to program them quickly and efficiently. Alphacam has made it so easy and so fast to program these things, and that’s the real advantage.”

To save even more time, Kellerman has added automation to his programming by saving specific machining parameters that he can easily reapply to new parts. “Once it’s set up, I can just select the parameters for the cut and save them.”

Kellerman also uses Alphacam’s tool-creation function to draw the geometry of his tools, “which really helps when you do solid simulation.” Among the tools created by Kellerman are about a dozen unique router bits that can be simulated for greater accuracy in collision detection and overall machining.  

The superior quality in accuracy and detail inherent to Alphacam’s simulation capabilities far outpaces that of Kellerman’s former system, he says.

“The solid simulation feature in Alphacam is amazing. Not only does it save on materials, which is great, but it saves so much time,” Kellerman explains. “Our old software didn’t simulate it well enough to see any mistakes, so we used to have to cut a part to see the mistakes. We might cut on a part three, four, or even five times to get it right.”

Alphacam has since revolutionized the programming process at Kellerman Kitchen & Bath.

“With Alphacam, we very rarely have a part that isn’t dead on accurate,” Kellerman says, “and when there are problems we are able to see them right away, before we cut the part. Once it simulates the whole thing, you’ve got a cut part that you can look at in three dimensions. You can see every little nit-picky detail.”

Kellerman also credits Alphacam’s engraving capabilities for delivering a top-notch, realistic-looking result. With Alphacam’s powerful 3D engraving functionality, artwork and text can easily be machined. The engraving command contours geometries with a form tool and, upon meeting a sharp corner, automatically retracts the tool to produce a sharp corner.

“It truly looks like it was engraved,” Kellerman says. “It looks like someone took a chisel and engraved it.”

Since the implementation of Alphacam, Kellerman has seen a significant increase in both programming and cutting efficiency, as well an increase in his ability to perform complex, custom jobs more quickly and easily than ever before.

“We don’t sacrifice anything on materials or processes,” he says. “We do it the best way it can be done. I feel like what we’re doing with Alphacam is cutting-edge technology.”


About the Company

Name: Kellerman Kitchen & Bath

Business: Custom kitchen and bath production

Website: kellermankitchenandbath.com


Benefits Achieved

  • Time saved and accuracy gained with nesting capabilities
  • Ability to import images into Alphacam to create geometry
  • Optimum engraving quality with Alphacam’s engraving functions

Comments

“I absolutely love Alphacam. To be able to make money at creating custom parts, you have to be able to program them quickly and efficiently. Alphacam has made it so easy and so fast to program these things, and that’s the real advantage.”

Jack Kellerman, Co-owner

 

Previous  |  Next