It is common for customers to approach a kitchen cabinet manufacturer with a picture and say, “this is the design of the kitchen cabinet I like.” While that approach is fine with kitchen cabinet manufacturers, it is a good idea to know how are kitchen cabinets made to appreciate the entire process.
Kitchen Cabinets Manufacturing Process
Step 1: Cabinets Splitting List
The kitchen cabinet manufacturing process starts with the cabinets splitting list or the design. The designer finalizes the design and layout of the kitchen cabinets through CAD drawings.
The CAD drawings are sent to the production department through a software. The production department evaluates and analyzes the drawing to generate the mechanical specifications of the kitchen cabinets.
The components of the kitchen cabinets are then produced based on the specifications including:
- Size of the cabinets
- Types of side panels
- Cabinet boxes
- Needed hardware
- Number of screws
- Number of needed holes
- Other requirements of the project
The splitting list, in short, details the production parameters of the kitchen cabinets.
Step 2: Materials Preparing
Producing good quality kitchen cabinets starts from sourcing the right materials. At present, the kitchen cabinet market is geared toward using Veneer wood and Particle Board. These materials come with hard textures and are resistant to temperature and pressure. Composite wood is a common material used in the manufacture of kitchen cabinets to make it more affordable. Another reason could be to comply with environmental requirements.
The best adhesive used in making composite wood contains small amounts of formaldehyde for durability and better performance. The use of formaldehyde, however, impacts the environment.
Environmental requires for formaldehyde release include:
- E1 standard – ≤1.5mg / L
- E2 Standard – ≤5.0mg / L
PA kitchen cabinets belong to the E0 level standard, therefore, exceeding the environmental safety index.
Step 3: Cutting
A board, usually a flat plate of Middle Density Fiberboard *MDF) comes in a standard size of 2440 * 1220 or 2800 * 1300.
An electronic saw for cutting boards to their exact sizes. Most large manufacturers use the HP series of the Holzma connected to the CUTRITE and other software. This allows for full automation and digital cutting.
Small manufacturers, on the other hand, still use handheld saws in the cutting process to save on costs.
Step 4: Grooving
The grooving phase involves placing the right indentations to fit the panels in the panel construction, drawer bottoms, and panels in the frame. Precision equipment is used to ensure the exact grooves are made. A groove is a slot cut into a member running parallel to the grain. Grooves are used to accommodate panel construction, panels in the frame, and bottoms of the drawers. Grooves are created along the ends and/or along the sides of panels such as in groove construction and tongue.
Grooves are created in the panels including the side plate, bottom plate, pull strip, etc. The grooving process allows the slitting of the bottom plate and side plate. This process is done so that the backplane can be inserted into the side plate and bottom plate in the assembly process. Sink cabinets do not have a backplane, thus, there is no need for bottom plates and side panels. The position of the slot of the bottom plate and side panel are almost the same – they have a fixed width from the edges equivalent to the thickness of the backplane.
In the same manner, a slot is needed on the rear pull strip which is sandwiched between the bottom plate and the side plate. The groove should be created in similar positions. The fixed-width should also be equivalent to the thickness of the back panel. Grooves are created using a manual slot saw (hand-pushed). An experienced worker can create thousands of slots because of the speed of the saw, enough to meet the factory’s production capacity.
To ensure precise and fast grooving the sawtooth of the grooving saw is similar to the width of the backing plate.
Step 5: Edge Banding
Edge banding is done to cover the raw edges of the sides of the wood to protect it against possible warping and to ensure a smooth finish. Particleboard, plywood, and MDF come with unprotected, unfinished, and unsightly edges. Edge banding is a process where a narrow strip of material is applied on the edges of the wood to create durable and beautiful trim edges. Edge banding is often made using PVC, acrylic, ABS, wood, wood veneer, or melamine.
Functionally, edge banding keeps moisture out of the core at the edge of the material. This process also improves the resilience and durability of the material. Aesthetically, edge banding creates a glossy finish that matches the sides and tops of the wood. For home kitchen cabinets, a 1 mm thick edge banding is used for the protection of the cabinets. a 3 mm edge banding, on the other hand, is used for commercial jobs for more strength and longevity.
All components of the kitchen cabinet need to go through the edge banding process, except the backplane.
Edge banding is done using hot-melt adhesives and industry-grade heat applicators. High-tech edge-banding machines can finish all four sides of 100 pieces of boards in an hour. Veneer and PVC are the most commonly used materials for edge banding.
Step 6: Drilling
The drilling process in the manufacture of kitchen cabinets is the process that is most prone to error. Drilling holes in the right places is a must to ensure the proper assembly of the different components of the kitchen cabinet. Kitchen cabinet boards need to have structural and system holes punched on them. Structural holes are made on the side panels. System holes are those made on all other panels except the backplane.
System holes are used to install screws and the holes are based on the thickness of the board. Structural holes, mainly found in the side panels are for placing rails, laminates, etc… Drilling equipment consists of three rows, six rows, etc. In most factories, workers manually install the drill bit and drill distances. Highly skilled workers are required to do this task because this process has a high error rate.
Step 7: PVC Vacuum
This process is done after the cabinet doors have been shaped. This process prepares every door panel for gluing and PVC finish application.
In the PVC Vacuum process, the door panel undergoes grinding and spraying. The door panel is then fed into the PVC door making a vacuum membrane press machine for the application of the PVC finish. A 0.035 mm PVC thickness will make the cabinet door durable enough to last about 15 years.
Step 8: Lacquered
The lacquered process is a complicated process. This stage involves a lot of steps and is always done manually. It is, therefore, necessary to have the most experienced workers and equipment in this manufacturing process.
The panels are polished and the edge of the panels is sealed with a primer. The base coat is applied and allowed to dry. Sanding is then done.
Step 9: Quality Inspect
Quality inspection is done to test that every sheet has been cut, sealed, and drilled based on the right specifications. Quality inspection is also done to check for any production errors so modification and re-production can be done prior to delivery. Quality inspection is done to save on time transportation expenses. Without quality inspection, there can be a possibility that the kitchen cabinets that are going to be shipped to your home will have some manufacturing errors. Returning the cabinets to the factory means time and money wasted.
Every component of the kitchen cabinet is tested from the cabinet boards to the hinges, locks, and all hardware. Quality inspection is done at every stage of the production process to make sure the right specifications are adhered to.
After the kitchen cabinet has been inspected and tested, it is packaged, tagged, and packed.
Step 10: Packing
Each component of the kitchen has an attached QR code. The QR code is scanned to ensure no components are missing before the cabinet is prepared for delivery or shipping. Every component of the kitchen cabinet is checked because it can be difficult to add a missing part once the cabinet has already been packed.
Each kitchen cabinet is packed with care making sure it can withstand the rigors of shipment. Durable and strong protective packaging materials are used. Each corner of the cabinet has corner protections. Packing standards should meet or exceed guidelines of international shipping to ensure the kitchen cabinets are safe while in transit.
Factors Affecting the Quality of Kitchen Cabinets
As is true with all decoration items, it is always best to choose well-known brands. Big brands are more experienced. They have a brand name to protect and, therefore, their products are most likely to have superior quality.
The same is true with kitchen cabinets. High-end kitchen cabinet manufacturers adhere to high standards with regards to all stages of the production process – from product research and development, design conceptualization, all the way to the production and manufacturing stages of the kitchen cabinets.
Kitchen cabinets are made with materials that have high emissions of formaldehyde. There are environmental standards that need to be adhered to ensure these materials are environment-friendly.
Kitchen cabinet raw materials should be compliant with national environmental protection (Level E1).
Raw materials of PA kitchen cabinets are compliant to the national standard E1 level. All kitchen cabinet raw materials come with the highest compliant certificates from China’s environmental labeling product certification (Ten-Ring Certification). This certification, which ensures raw materials adhere to the protection of the environment, is equivalent to the ISO9001 and other management system certifications.
The use of advanced technology and state-of-the-art processing machines and equipment ensure the durability and longevity of the kitchen cabinets. Manufacturers who use cutting-edge technology to control formaldehyde emissions of raw materials adhere to environmental issues. It is, therefore, best to choose manufacturers who use advanced processing equipment. PA Kitchen has production lines of international standards equipped with HOMAG cutting machines from Germany edge-banding machines, and a CNC processing center to ensure accurate product specifications and superior quality.
PA Kitchen creates superior quality kitchen cabinets using the Intelligent Design & Production Integration System (IDPI SYSTEM). This system integrates the design, production, and quality control processes to ensure all kitchen cabinets are of superior quality. The system guarantees all PA kitchen cabinets are competitive in the domestic and global markets.
The data pertaining to the design and specifications of the kitchen cabinets emanating from the design team are shared to all concerned departments. Each component of the cabinet has an attached bar code.
Data is updated in every stage of the manufacturing process. The system has reduced human errors in transmitting information from one department to another from 5% to less than 0.1%. The barcode is scanned to extract information before the start of each production stage.
4. Edge banding
Edge banding is another factor that affects environmental protection. A good edge banding application controls the release of formaldehyde especially with the use of the four-sided blocking technique.
Edge banding also makes the substrate resistant to moisture. The front edge of the cabinet is edge banded to eliminate peeling and to add to the durability of the cabinet. Heat-sensitive adhesive is applied to one side of the board and the other side functions as a barrier against moisture and dirt.
In summary, edge banding is essential to cover the sides of the board so it will match the finished look of the cabinet and also protect the board from warping.
The quality of the hardware used in the kitchen cabinets (hinges, slides, glides, etc.) affects their overall cost. The quality of hardware used can be difficult to determine but if you are working with experienced kitchen cabinet designers or cabinet manufacturers, you are assured that only top-quality hardware is installed in your kitchen cabinets.
Many homeowners prefer soft closed doors, however, there are many cheap hinges and glides that work perfectly for a year or two then start failing in performance. Blum hardware is the best for kitchen cabinets.
If you have an idea of how are kitchen cabinets made, you will be able to wisely choose your kitchen cabinets. Understanding the manufacturing process will allow you to appreciate their design and construction.
Understanding how are kitchen cabinets made will also help you choose the right kitchen cabinet manufacturer that makes top-quality cabinetry.
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