to investment in a 5-axis CNC router
and CAD/CAM software to run it.
The first machine you see when you
walk onto the Bruex shop floor is the
5-axis Bacci CNC router. Just beyond
it are rows of cold press machines.
Towards the back is an older Wesflex
3-axis router that’s still going strong,
six radio frequency machines, and the
area where programming guru Dennis
Garcia works his magic.
An experienced programmer who
initially joined Bruex as a consultant,
Garcia brings with him a bank of
knowledge programming Mastercam
CAD/CAM software for wood applications in the furniture industry, having
been trained at Henredon and as an
applications specialist at Barefoot CNC,
Johnston’s local Mastercam Reseller.
With the new technology in place,
complex orders that Johnston would either reject or accept knowing there would
be a considerable time commitment, are
Investments in CNC
router and programming
software are key for curved
plywood specialist Bruex.
With customers ranging from furniture manu- facturers to Nordic Track and American
Athletics, curved plywood components
manufacturer Bruex Inc. is “pressed
for success” following recent investments in technology and software.
Bruex was founded in 1991 by
Bruce Johnston Jr. and Rex Shoemaker; in 1992 Johnston became the sole
owner of the Lenoir, North Carolina-based company. Eight years afterward,
Keith Johnston acquired the company
and added sports equipment, such
as rails for Nordic Track and springboards for American Athletics, to the
roster of products made by Bruex.
Soon after taking over at Bruex,
Keith Johnston restructured the system
and implemented changes. “The
whole business has changed so much,”
he added. “In 2000, there were 32
curved wood manufacturers – now
there are only seven.”
Among steps taken to lean the busi-
ness were the elimination of the sec-
ond shift and cutting employees from
55 in 2000 to a crew approximately
one-third the size. Currently, there
are 20 cross-trained employees on the
shop floor, with work progressing more
efficiently than ever. They credit this
The Master3DGage (Verisurf) arm provides
for fully automated 3D inspection and
engineering within the Mastercam user
Veneer sheets are assembled and cold pressed, creating the curved plywood panels. Bruex
has 39 banks of cold press machines.