“Terrible products and service levels” from a kitchen manufacturer prompted the former owner of a specialist metalforming business to set up his own kitchen company.
Paul Slater had retired after selling the intellectual property rights in the engineering firm he ran for 30 years. With time on his hands he decided to fit a new kitchen at his home, but was so disappointed with the shoddy products and poor customer service, that he set up Kesseler UK Ltd to manufacture the highest quality cabinets available, with unparalleled levels of customer service.
"I've not seen anything on the market that can do what Cabinet Vision does."
Paul Slater - Managing Director
Throughout his metalworking career he was always involved in new ways of design and manufacture – and has adopted the same principal with his kitchen cabinets, having applied for patents on a new interlocking system developed with the incorporation of the traditional mortise and tenon joint. “It was primarily designed for ease of assembly. But the spin-off for the end-user is that the cabinet is absolutely square and has added strength. It gives unparalleled rigidity, stability and accuracy.”
Investing in the woodworking software tool, Cabinet Vision, when Kesseler started two and a half years ago, he has used the software to create around 1,200 library parts. Running Solid Drafter, Solid Ultimate, Screen to Machine and Label-IT, he says Cabinet Vision is essential to their business, as everything they manufacture goes through it. “We have everything we need in Drafter or Ultimate to design a cabinet. Anything beyond the standard editing and design features can be achieved through Cabinet Vision’s User Created Standards. This is particularly useful for modifications that may be required for special orders.”
When the order is ready to go into production, it takes just two or three mouse clicks to output it to CNC data which is transferred to their Homag Weeke router. The Cabinet Vision team also wrote the post processor, including adjustments for accessories such as a push-off conveyor.
With Kesseler reporting over 100 per cent growth year-on-year, Paul Slater says Cabinet Vision plays a major role in their continuing success. “It would be impossible to manufacture what we do, in the way we do, without the right software, and I’ve not seen anything on the market that can do what Cabinet Vision does.”
But even Cabinet Vision’s extensive capabilities – which give commercial and residential cabinetmakers a complete set of tools to engineer products exactly as they need them – could not produce Kesseler’s revolutionary joint originally, as it was something entirely new to the woodworking industry. “But that was swiftly overcome by Cabinet Vision support engineers writing an additional, bespoke, function into our seat of the software, to specifically generate the joint for the way we put it together,” explains Paul Slater.
Kesseler have spent a long time developing processes and techniques to ensure a tolerance less than 40 microns within the joint. “While we’ve been developing and maintaining the accuracy of the parts, we’ve modified how we machine the joint, so our bespoke aspect of Cabinet Vision has undergone a systematic series of small incremental changes to get the joint to the robust stage it’s at now, with tool specification, methodology and sequences.”
The interlocking system was created to take the company away from the traditional glue and dowel joint, but the additional strength it gave to their cabinets quickly proved to be a powerful USP. The only time they create anything with a cam and dowel is if the customer specifically requests a knock-down cabinet. And, like everything else on the shop floor, that is also generated from Cabinet Vision. “There are enough parts in our library now to make any kitchen you could dream of.”
At the start, Paul Slater was Kesseler’s principal user of Cabinet Vision, creating the library and developing the joint. But now that the majority of work is inputting data for specific orders, and most parts are standard library components needing only minimal adjustments, other team members have also been trained on the software. “Dimension changes are extremely simple to make; shape changes take us a little bit more time, but Cabinet Vision has the ability to do whatever a customer wants. Occasionally, when we need to make more advanced modifications to system parameters or UCS code, Cabinet Vision’s support team turn it around extremely quickly.”
Cabinet Vision also helps Kesseler maintain service levels which he says “are probably unparalleled in the industry.” It gives them detailed records of every job from taking the order through to the customer receiving it. “We have the model in Cabinet Vision, along with the full CNC codes and nest sheets, so if anyone needs remedial parts, even from two and a half years ago, it only takes a couple of minutes to find every piece of information to replicate the part exactly like the original.”
Kesseler have perfected the manufacturing technique in producing quality kitchen cabinets, supplying to a number of specially selected high end kitchen studios in the Midlands and Yorkshire. They are now launching the Kesseler brand nationally with a range of kitchens, which include exquisite lacquers and timbers, matt painted doors and glass faced doors to compete with other high end kitchens brands. The use of Cabinet Vision has enabled Kesseler to develop a unique application for the continental extruded handleless style kitchen and also a pioneering application of the in-frame system, where the frame is precisely machine dowelled to the face of the cabinet. All are available on short lead times.
Their philosophy remains the same for the Kesseler brand, as it has so far for the cabinet business. “We’ll never get involved in the cheap flat-pack end of the market and we don’t want to be an ultra niche product that’s hand-made to the nth degree. We’re in the upper-mid to high end market of kitchens but offer a forward-thinking, fresh, strong and stylish brand that is fully reflected throughout the product range.”
About The Company:
Name: Kesseler UK Ltd
Everything needed to design a cabinet
Maintains unparalleled service levels
Bespoke function for patent-pending joint
"It would be impossible to manufacture what we do, without the right software, and I've not seen anything on the market that can do what Cabinet Vision does."