This is an informational breakdown on the cost of a cnc router to produce mdf doors as opposed to traditional methods of producing traditional five piece doors. This was put together by Bob Law, Regional Manager of CNC Automation (a Thermwood dealer).
Most people equate nested based manufacturing with cabinet box components and the labor savings, added precision and ease of assembly that goes along with automation of this process, but a big part of a quality system is the machining of peripheral items. In my opinion and the opinion of large percentage of our users, the ability to produce "high end" paint grade MDF doors more than justifies their lease payment which in reality makes the cabinet advantages free.
A large stigma attached to MDF doors is the customer's perception that MDF is cheap or a lesser quality in comparison to popular 5 piece doors (which if you think about it is clearly not the case).
A large headache for a kitchen manufacturer is a call 6 months to a year after the install when the center panel has shrunk and the paint is cracked along the inside of their rails and styles, or the miters have opened leaving an unsightly gap in the corners of all of their doors.
In most cases a customer will easily opt for a 1 piece MDF option if presented with the fact that their MDF door will stand the test of time and be guaranteed not to move and deteriorate the look of the dream kitchen that they have worked so hard for.
Now all MDF door packages aren't created equally. Most systems have the ability to do single pass doors that look like the prototypical MDF door with an outside profile as well as a simple inside profile. Our software, which is called Panelmetrix, has the capability to create multipass 1 piece doors, as well as automatic mullion and glass cutout machining. It can also create bead board machining, valance machining, 1 piece multipanel machining (which can be used for tall doors, wainscoting, range hoods etc...) and a number of other features that will turn door machining into an order entry system once a door style is developed. Panelmetrix is available exclusively to Thermwood owners and is the ultimate companion to eCabinet Systems.
Sales techniques aside, the justification goes something like this:
- Average 5 piece paint grade door cost per kitchen = $3000.00
- Material cost for MDF for the same = $300.00
- Approximate machine time = 4 hours
- Added Gross profit for one kitchen = $2700.00 which in most cases will cover a lease payment for a Thermwood nesting system.
- Bead Board:
- Sheet of Bead board = $80.00
- Sheet of 1/4" MDF = $20.00
- Approximate machining time = 7-8 minutes depending of the spacing
- Savings per sheet of $60.00
In closing, the cheapest system on paper over a short period of time can be by far the most expensive. MDF doors coupled with modeled curved moldings, preprogrammed carvings, dovetailed drawer box machining, can all be easily machined with our system and for small to midsized shops especially, can make the difference between profitability or the addition of just another one dimensional tool in your shop.
Please take the time to view a few typical examples of quality MDF door machining below.