by Karen Koenig
email@example.com PLANT TOURS
Plant tours highlight best practices
for components manufacturing
More than 90 people attended annual WCMA fall event.
Manufacturing tips and best practices were shared by more than 90 North American woodworkers and industry suppliers during
the annual Fall Conference & Plant Tour
Event hosted by the Wood Component
Held in northern Wisconsin, the event
included tours to six area manufacturers of
windows and doors, countertops, moulding, dimension lumber and pre-fabricated
homes, as well as a visit to the Wood Technology Center at Northcentral Technical
College. Tabletop exhibits and keynote
presentations by Guy Bucey, director of operations at Inova, and Brad Cairns, senior
partner at The Center for Learning and a
contributor to FDMC, were also featured.
What follows are brief highlights from
the tours. For information on future
WCMA events visit WCMA.com.
At Kolbe & Kolbe Millwork’s facility in
Wausau, tour participants got a firsthand
look at the sustainable operations in place
at one of North America’s largest window
and door manufacturers. Founded in
1946, the family-owned Kolbe & Kolbe
produces a range of products, including
casement, double hung, sliding, awning
and specialty windows, as well as sliding,
patio, folding and entrance doors, for
residential and commercial use.
Approximately 2,000 door and window
units are produced weekly at the 1 million
square-foot facility, said Joel Hurst, Cutting
Department supervisor. The company
has approximately 600 employees at the
Wausau facility, and 1,200 company wide.
Inside the mammoth plant, the com-
pany has multiple saw lines, both scan
and crayon, for cutting boards for optimal
length. A variety of equipment is utilized
for the operations, including Ultimizers
with UltiVision scanners, Mereen-Johnson
424 saws, Ogden saws, and a USNR
AddVantage rip saw optimizer scanner.
Weinig Powermat and Profimat moulders
machine the more than 1,800 active pro-
files used by Kolbe & Kolbe. Nothing goes
to waste, as even the small pieces of wood
are fingerjointed and used for radius and
other parts. “We run approximately 2. 5
million parts per year in this department,”
Hurst said. “Considering we’re not bulk
building, that’s a lot of parts.”
Handcraftsmanship and CNC machining, including Komo routers, is used
throughout the plant. Kolbe & Kolbe also
has invested in its finishing operations,
Robots work in conjunction with CNC moulders at Weather Shield Doors & Windows.