CAD/CAM Highway to Profits
Daniel Antes transforms business operations while bolstering profit margins with SAi’s EnRoute CAD/CAM software.
Originally founded in 2001 under the name of Distinctive Hardwood Floors, Daniel Antes has established itself as a leading full-service, handmade flooring company. With its customer base expanding and jobs diversifying, the company required a software solution to meet its customers’ demands. This saw the company introduce SAi’s EnRoute and Flexi software in 2007. Utilising EnRoute’s design-to-output workflow, the company has increased its profit margin by 50%, propelling its turnover from $180,000 to well over $1,000,000.
Daniel Antes, based in Nashville, Indiana and named after the company’s founder and owner, has carved a niche market outside of its traditional scope of handmade flooring and furniture. Using SAi’s EnRoute CAD/CAM software to drive its laser cutter and Flexicam Stealth XL CNC router, Daniel Antes produces a range of applications. These include signage, parquet and flooring inlays along with bedside cribs.
According to Antes, after trialling many software solutions, it came down to just two packages offered at the same price. “The final deciding factor was SAi’s responsiveness and support throughout our trial period,” he explains. “We realized that this was an indication of the care that we would receive moving forward and today, we still receive the same level of assistance that we did as a new customer.”
Slashing production time from five days to four hours
Having firmly established EnRoute as a central function to its operations, Daniel Antes continues to push the boundaries of the software to optimize its workflow and maintain its competitive edge.
This is exemplified in a recent repeat project which saw the company reduce its turnaround time of a large wooden compass medallion measuring 1.82m/ 5.97ft by a huge 96%. “Previously, it would take us up to five days to chisel this piece by hand. This method dramatically delayed our production cycle and had a domino-effect on other jobs in the pipeline,” explains Antes. “EnRoute enables us to draw, toolpath and cut the full piece in just four hours. This not only massively improves our throughput but ultimately ensures we get the orders out of the door on time, or in most cases well ahead of time.”
Increasing profit margin by 50%
According to Antes, these substantial savings are felt across the board. Using the Obstruction Nesting tool, which allows users to nest around barriers, the company can use competitively priced material to help reduce overall costs while still producing premium results.”
This benefit is not restricted to the CNC machine. “With its nesting capabilities far surpassing that of our laser cutting machine’s software, EnRoute offers the opportunity to nest pieces inside of unused remnants,” says Antes. “This ensures that we maximize our material usage. In fact, since adopting this method, we have increased our profit margin by an incredible 50%.
“I think it’s fair to say that EnRoute has been instrumental in transforming us from a $180,000 turnover company to one now well over $1,000,000.”
Maintaining this healthy margin requires Daniel Antes to streamline its throughput and minimize waste. Using EnRoute’s Toolpath feature, the company toolpaths up to 15,000 different pieces or up to 6,000 of the same part onto one layer, ensuring maximum productivity.
Beyond this, the company also relies heavily on EnRoute’s ability to produce reliable code. Antes explains: “EnRoute offers the reassurance that we can plug in a 12-hour job over night, return to the workshop the next day and know that it will be outputting correctly. This prevents mistakes, removes costly rework and ultimately streamlines our production.”
Entering new markets
With its feature-rich tools, EnRoute is also propelling Daniel Antes into new markets. These include manufacturing aids, one-off replacement parts for the workshop and art installations, to name a few.
A prime example of this is a recent job which saw the company machine an alignment rail to place labels on medical bottles. Previously, the company outsourced this part to Germany, which led to escalating lead times and, should iterations be required, mounting costs.
Daniel Antes reverse engineered this part. This saw the company take the original rail and input its exact dimensions into EnRoute. The final metal part was output by the CNC machine in just a few hours.
“As you can imagine, when developing parts for the medical sector, precision is paramount,” says Antes. “With the materials of the bottles costing in excess of $8,000, ensuring that the labels perfectly align is crucial to accelerating the company’s time-to-market. EnRoute not only ensures this but it offers us the reliability to repeat these parts at a competitive price.”
Outside of this, Antes incorporates his EnRoute expertise with his personal interests, opening the door to even wider markets. This is demonstrated in a recent collaborative project with American sacred geometry artist, Eileen Bradley.
Based on the nature-inspired artwork entitled ‘Unbroken’, Antes input 1240 intricate pieces into EnRoute – the most parts he’s produced per square meter. Toolpathed onto one layer, he completed the complex replica in a matter of days and is now for sale.
“The hope is to continue expanding our business offering and establish ourselves as the company that ‘thinks outside the box’,” says Antes. “With the versatility and ease of EnRoute, no job is too complicated.
“The software has reshaped our business and elevated us to new heights. It offers us a vast gamut of possibilities that goes beyond the scope that we ever thought achievable – the only limit is our imagination.”
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