by Rich Christianson
firstname.lastname@example.org SMART FACTORY
Replacing an antiquated dust collection system with a Höcker system unique to North America is paying off big dividends in energy savings and productivity gains for a Minnesota-based custom cabinet manufacturer. Crystal Cabinet Works Inc. has a long heritage of manufacturing custom cabinets one kitchen at a time including not only the boxes, but the doors and drawers, as well.
The Princeton, Minnesota, company – celebrating its 70th anniversary this year – runs a
continuous process improvement program with
its engineers always on the prowl to identify and
eliminate the biggest production bottlenecks.
One such bottleneck was the plant’s aging dust
collection system, a hodge-podge of six collectors
purchased from four different companies.
“Basically, as our production grew and our dust
collection needs grew, we added accordingly,” said
Jared Nierengarten, maintenance manager for
Crystal Cabinet. The resulting un-orchestrated
dust collection ensemble, with a combined 650
horsepower, steadily became less efficient, suc-
cumbed to air leaks, gobbled up energy and repre-
sented a major obstacle every time Crystal Cabinet
looked to add or move equipment.
Greg Rask, manufacturing engineer, agreed
the challenges were many. “We faced everything
from capacity issues to OSHA standards changing
over the years. Capacity was probably the biggest
one,” he said. “We needed to get higher air veloci-
ties and it wasn’t possible with the old systems.”
“There were always bigger fires to put out,”
Nierengarten said. “But the process improvement
projects that we were looking to implement always
seemed to be hindered due to the dust collection
requirements. The flexibility was minimal. We
decided to look for a system that allowed us unlim-
ited flexibility ... something that could be reroued
and reconnected with little effort.”
Cabinet factory makes dust collection an on-going part of continuous
improvement while saving big on energy costs.
High-tech dust collection offers
adaptability, energy savings
New dust collection systems at Crystal Cabinet Works integrates maximum versatility for changing machine locations
while saving big on energy costs.