Companies Share Machinery Trends for the Millwork Industry
by Samantha Carpenter
Because so many SHELTER readers use machinery in their shops, we know it’s important to find out what the different machinery manufacturers offer. The following information is each company’s response to the following questions:
•Please give a brief history of your company.
•What are some of the trends in the machinery manufacturing industry? (i.e., What types of machinery are your customers asking for?)
•Please tell about your company’s newest product.
•What do you do that’s special customer-service wise?
Builders Automation Machinery (BAM) Co. LLC is located in Largo, Fla. BAM’s founder, Wolfgang (Wolf) Schusser, started working in the industry in 1983. After having a career as a manufacturing engineer in Southern Africa in the mineral mines, Schusser went to work for Ruvo, located at the time in Largo, Fla. He was a service technician and later the service manager for Ruvo for seven years, servicing its full line of equipment.
When the Ruvo facility closed, Schusser continued in the service business with Triad in Nebraska for a year. In 1992, Schusser founded what was originally called Reconditioning Unlimited by Wolf (RUWO). In the early years, Schusser and his son Thomas focused the company on remanufacturing all brands of door, stair and ancillary equipment. Since then, the company has developed its own line of door and stair machinery.
In August 2001, the Schussers decided for the company to grow and improve, they should gain another partner. Robert Mitvalsky has joined the company, now known as Builders Automation Machinery Co. LLC.
Full House Co., a pre-hung door machinery manufacturer, is located in Melbourne, Fla., in a new state-of-the-art, 43,000– square-foot manufacturing facility. Fred Braid founded the company in 1981 and has more than 30 years experience in the door industry. His father, O.W. Braid, worked for Morgan Distribution, which has jobber branches throughout the Southeast. The Braid family has been involved with the door industry since the 1930s. Fred’s sons, Todd and Chad, are actively involved in sales and operations today. The company has introduced more than 30 machines and has a complete staff that includes service technicians, engineers, auto-CAD operators, sales staff and customer-service representatives.
Norfield Industries, located in Chico, Calif., began in 1959 with the invention of a machine to pre-hang doors. Originally designed by Bob Norlie, one of the founding partners, this machine has been improved over the years and is now known as the Signature Series Magnum and is recognized as the “standard” for low-to-medium volume door shops. Over the next 40 years, additional machines were introduced to meet the ever changing needs of the pre-hung door industry. With the addition of a tools and supplies business 15 years ago, Norfield is now a primary supplier of tools, bits and disposable items for all door shops. Three generations of the Norlie family are involved in the management of the company.
Ruvo/Merrick Machine Co. is located in Alda, Neb. Ruvo was founded by Rudy Volkmer in 1947 in Long Island, N.Y. The first specialty machine produced in 1952 was a glass-cutting machine. In 1958, Ruvo produced its first pre-hung door manufacturing machine and its first stair router. This is the basis of the company’s modern product line.
In 1972, Ruvo moved to Largo, Fla. In 1978, Peter Hollerman purchased the company. After Hollerman died, the company was bought from his son, Bill Hollerman, by Merrick Machine Co. In 1989 and 1990, the company moved to Alda, Neb.
Since 1990, WISE Corp., located in Largo, Fla., has been a trusted supplier of machinery, parts and service to the door and millwork industry. The company’s focus has been to service the needs of the pre-hanging industry. Support and service of all major brands of door and millwork equipment continues to be a focus of the WISE Corp. It also offers its own line of fully-automated
pre-hanging equipment and rebuilt used equipment.
Machinery Manufacturing Trends
BAM: “With employment costs continuing to spiral (i.e. health care, workers compensation, etc.), the trend is to have equipment that does as many things as possible to allow as few employees as possible to produce as many doors and stairs as possible … Plus, companies want a single–source supplier—one who can furnish a whole line of equipment, service [that equipment] and be a partner in helping them be profitable.”
Full House: “We are seeing a large increase in new door shops that are specializing in customized door units. This requires machinery that is very flexible … Companies are also asking for material handling equipment to efficiently handle the materials to the machines and the finished products to the shipping areas.”
Norfield: “Depending on the customer and its end market, most people are looking for simplicity of operation, reliability and ‘do-it-yourself’ machinery. They need more versatility with less complexity. With the trend toward 8-foot doors, many older machines are being replaced because they are not equipped to handle them. As door plants become more sophisticated, they are interested in shop floor integration and electronic reporting.”
Ruvo/Merrick Machine: “Some of the trends in the machinery manufacturing industry are for more computerization, higher production with less overhead and, of course, ease of operation.”
WISE: “The trend seems to be heading toward machines having the ability to produce house packages and specialty doors. As the market is experiencing the demands for 8-foot interior doors, more and more customers are looking for one machine that does it all.”
BAM: “We have a couple of new things in the works to assist the door and sash industry. We will be introducing early next year a new product. Our focus is on continually improving the current product line. We just went through an upgrade to our current door machine, making it even more operator friendly and dependable. We continue to incorporate steps which are performed
manually into the processing capability of our machines.”
Full House: “Full House has introduced a new Diamond 3001 “Millennium Edition” door and jamb machine. This machine combines both speed and versatility. The Diamond 3001 will also accommodate wood, steel and fiberglass doors up to 4 feet wide and 9 feet high.”
Norfield: “The Horizon system consists of an automated loader, beveller, machining center and assembly center controlled by a single operator from a central touch-screen control panel ... One operator controls the feed, bevel and machine operations, and another feeds the assembly center, making it possible to run numerous doors and different sizes, materials and hardware requirements with a two-person team.”
Ruvo/Merrick Machine: “Our newest product is the addition of the 8-foot capacity to our existing door line.”
WISE: “The company’s newest product is the 8800 LR. Featuring touch-screen technology, automatic hinge-feed application and fully-savable functions, the servo driven system is similar to the CNC machines familiar to other industries.”
BAM: “Our customers are our friends. If they are in trouble, we help. We have had customers call for help on a Saturday afternoon; we fly out and work Sunday so that they can run Monday, and it wasn’t even our equipment … We are also working at growing our parts and service business.”
Full House: “We provide assistance in set-up, training and shop layout … We maintain a computerized parts department for overnight shipments and have an 800 number for any service-related questions.”
Norfield: “We have 14 full-time sales staff and a service staff of eight people. We provide technical information, machine service and repair and prompt shipment of
Ruvo/Merrick Machine: “We offer free installation and free training for the operator. We also offer one free call back for adjustments or training within the first year. We can also, due to our own in-house engineering, modify certain machines to fit our customers’ needs.”
WISE: “Our main strength is that we provide our customers with the full customer-service package that includes in-house support, in-field service, parts, used equipment and new equipment.”
If you are interested in learning more about manufacturing trends and discussing types of machinery, please visit the machinery companies from this article at the NSDJA convention in San Antonio, October 12-16.
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