Each year, WMIA also recognizes extraordinary companies and institutions with the prestigious Wooden Globe Awards. These awards are presented for notable success and achievements, accomplished in part through the use of high technology machinery and software supplied by WMIA-member companies.
The Innovator Award is presented to a company which currently produces a unique and innovative wood-based product or utilizes an innovative process to produce a wood-based product using high technology machinery supplied by one or more WMIA-member companies. Crystal Cabinet Works, Inc. was this year’s recipient, nominated by Ben Dipzinski of Hocker America (formerly O2 Filtration).
State of the art dust collection was the story told for the Innovator of the Year prize. Jared Nierengarten, maintenance manager, and Greg Rask, manufacturing engineer, accepted the Innovator honors for their company, Crystal Cabinet Works, Inc. Nierengarten and Rask detailed how the company had completely revamped a complicated and inefficient dust collection system, replacing it with cutting edge technology from Hocker North America.
Rask described how the company with 400 employees in 270,000 square feet building more than 450 cabinets a day had outgrown its dust collection system, which serviced 153 pieces of equipment. A big challenge was adaptability as the company was constantly changing its machine layout as part of on-going continuous improvement lean manufacturing efforts. Nierengarten explained how the new system provided more capacity directly to each machine, allowing for easier modification of layouts. Computer controls allowed for automatic opening and closing of blast gates and adjustments to CFM flow and energy use.
Rask said the company’s energy savings of more than 1 million kWh per year was equal to the power usage of 94 average homes or 1.8 million hours of LED television use. Ben Dipzinkski of Hocker North America (formerly O2 Filtration), who nominated Crystal Cabinet Works, emphasized the challenge involved in keeping up with the company’s ever-changing strides for more efficiency.
Haas Cabinet received the Commitment to Excellence through Technology Award, presented to a company which provides a shining example that continued investments in high technology machinery provide the necessary competitive advantage to compete successfully in today’s global market. Nominated by Rick Braun of Machine Solutions.
Designed to honor an on-going commitment and investment in new technology, the technology award was accepted by Todd Haas of Haas Cabinet. He described the long-term commitment to technology at Haas that began with his grandfather, who founded the company, and his father, who continued the tradition. When Todd Haas took over in 2000, he confessed to actually abandoning some technology to adopt simplified manufacturing techniques. But then rising to new challenges, he embarked on an on-going program that brought sophisticated, multi-faceted automated production equipment and software to the forefront of Haas Cabinet’s operations.
Rick Braun of Machine Solutions, Jasper, Indiana, who nominated Haas, described it as a “first-class operation, including Biesse CNC machines, a Selco panel saw, Schmalz material handling, and a flat-line finishing system from Giardina.
Educator of the Year honors went to Greg Larson of the New England School of Architectural Woodworking. Larson described his program as offering a “very real world experience” to students, who average 32 years old and include both young people starting out and older career changers. The private school’s program even includes building and installing kitchen cabinet projects for the local community in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Chris Hofmann of Colonial Saw, who nominated Larson, read several testimonials from former students of the school who had gone on to successful careers in the woodworking industry. Larson said that he has received very positive responses from industry demanding quality employees and is able to “place nearly everybody” who successfully completes the program at NESAW.
The Wooden Globe Awards are an annual initiative by the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association. Every year, the WMIA honors excellence among woodworking companies by presenting the annual Wooden Globe Awards. WMIA members nominate their customers, and awards are presented in three categories: Innovator, Educator, and Commitment to Excellence Through Technology.