I am the founder and CEO of Thermwood. If you check our web site you will find a new area where we offer a comparison chart of the nested based systems available today and some "straight talk" about the systems and industry.
I'm the one that put this together because of several things that have been happening and I thought I might use our new blog area to tell you about it.
We are trying to sell nested based systems to cabinet shops and in today's world, these sales are really important. In analyzing what's going on, two things stood out. First, customers that bought our product continually tell us they are pleasantly surprised at all the things it does for them. This is good because happy customers are always good. It's bad however, because the fact that they were surprised means we did a lousy job of telling them the advantages of our offering or what they should expect before they bought.
The second thing had to do with our Model 41 and Model 67 machines. In the wood industry our dealers have been telling us we needed a lower cost machine so we developed the Model 41. In order to build a machine at a lower cost you have to take something away so we used a single side drive for the gantry and purchased, rather than built, the Z axis assembly. This meant two things as far as the customer is concerned.
First, table size was restricted to 4'x8'. This meant that when combined with our three-dimensional compensation we could get good performance and good accuracy which is difficult to do with a single gantry drive. A larger table with this arrangement wouldn't work very well. Also, the shorter stroke of the purchased Z axis meant that the rotary playback for making carved posts and legs couldn't be used with this machine. We didn't consider this a major drawback since not too many shops ordered the optional playback system anyway.
The Model 90 was a little different. We had a solid and good selling product in our five axis Model 67. It did a great job in trimming and model and mold making and was probably the market leader in those applications. Our engineers designed up a higher performance version of the Model 67 and we called it the Model 90. It was quite a bit more expensive but the extra money made it perform substantially faster and better. Our sales folks told us they didn't think it would sell because you could do the same jobs with the lower cost Model 67.
In actuality however, the Model 41 attracted a lot of customers but virtually all of them moved up to the Model 45 because of better performance and more capability. The same thing happened to the Model 90. Over half of the customers switched to the higher cost-higher performance Model 90.
These things were bothering me because of a lot of talk in the forums and blogs about the price of nested based systems. The talk and blogs and forums all acted like all these systems are the same. Just like our customers didn't know what we were offering, the industry doesn't seem to know or appreciate the difference between low cost systems and higher cost systems, both ours and some of our competitors. They don't seem to have a clue about what you get for what you pay.
This caused me to try to lay out the whole thing in a clear, accurate and honest way. Based on the two observations, perhaps if potential customers really understand everything our systems offer, they would be willing to step up to the higher price just like they did with the Model 41 and Model 90. If not, at least they would both understand and accept what they are buying for what they are spending.
I tried to be as accurate as possible with this comparison. If you find any area where the comparison is wrong, please let me know and I will change it. Also, if there is an area where you think we should add additional items for comparison also let me know. My email is [email protected]
For comparison purposes, I do not want to include items open for interpretation. For example, I believe our service is second to none, but the quality of service is value judgment rather than a provable fact so I have left those things out. You should check out service pretty carefully before buying, however. It is very important.