Klaussner: Harnessing automation to save time, material and labor for improved profitability.
Since opening its doors in 1963, Klaussner Home Furnishings has become a leading furniture provider. Klaussner created a vertically-integrated furniture powerhouse capable of producing multiple product lines sourced from around the globe. The company provides furniture to several large retailers, including Bloomingdales and Macy’s.
Klaussner employs 1,500 people and produces its products in house, from design, frame construction and cutting to sewing and assembly. "Our furniture says made in the USA and it truly is," said Henry Delk Jr., engineer, Klaussner.
Klaussner achieves some of the fastest turnaround times in the industry. "We fulfill a lot of orders that consist of one or two pieces," said Delk. "That's just the way the business is these days. And, we have to be able to fulfill these orders quickly and generate a profit."
Klaussner manages nearly three million patterns that have been created over the years. At any point in time, the company warehouses nearly 950,000 yards of 600 different fabrics. "When you consider the number of styles we offer, it was challenging to store, maintain and create hard patterns for all of them. We needed help."
Klaussner’s manufacturing facility houses multiple automated cutting systems, including three conveyorized cutters, primarily for matched upholstery, as well as four Taurus leather cutters that cut, on average, 20,000 square feet of leather, per shift, each day. According to Delk, “In the past, Klaussner employed 150 individuals cutting leather by hand.” Shoulder, neck, back, wrist and hand injuries were common and very costly. Along with high costs for medical treatment, the company also experienced lost worker productivity. To date, there have been zero Taurus leather cutter related injuries.
Klaussner also operates seven DCS 2500 single-ply cutting tables, each capable of cutting 50 to 85 complete units of furniture in an eight-hour shift, compared to only 10 complete units when cutting manually. “The DCS 2500 cutters have saved us yards and yards of material over the years. In fact, we were so impressed with the performance and speed, we bought seven cutters in a single year,” added Delk.
Prior to automating their upholstery cutting, Klaussner spent 45 minutes to manually cut a marker. With the DCS 2500 cutters, it takes about 15 minutes to cut, pick and kit a complete marker.
In addition, Klaussner’s CAD design room is equipped with Gerber’s AccuMark pattern design software, AccuScan pattern digitizing system, and two GERBERplotters. Recently, the company purchased Gerber’s AccuNest automated nesting software. With improved material yields, the company expects to see a return on investment in just three months. AccuNest enables Klaussner to generate a marker automatically in seconds for maximum material utilization – a process that used to take as much as an hour when done manually.
The Client: Klaussner Home Furnishings
Brief about client business: Klaussner Home Furnishings, located in Asheboro, North Carolina, USA has been producing high-quality custom-made furniture for more than 50 years.
The Challenge: Years ago, Klaussner relied solely on large volume orders. Sensing a change in the marketplace, the company shifted focus and operations to accommodate small runs and mass-customized products. The company needed a way to accelerate assembly processes, manage and maintain its vast number of patterns, and limit the growing number of worker’s compensation claims resulting from hand cutting.
The Solution: By automating their fabric upholstery and leather cutting processes, Klaussner was able to train cutter operators in only a few weeks, compared to several months for hand cutting. They also implemented numerous Gerber products, including AccuMark® pattern design and nesting software.
The Benefits: Automated design and cutting helped Klaussner improve productivity and material savings, and dramatically decrease lead times.
- With fewer workers cutting leather hides, the company has considerably reduced worker’s compensation claims. They have never experienced an injury with the Taurus leather cutter.
- With more efficient nesting programs and accurate cutting, material utilization improved significantly.
- The DCS 2500 cutter has decreased upholstery cutting times by 66 percent, when compared to manual cutting.
- AccuNest’s automated marker making software will provide a return on investment in only three months.