Panel Retrieval System Helps Millwork Firm Deliver Whole Package

American MillworkMagazine, Manufacturing, Millworking

American Millwork and Cabinetry delivers both quality architectural millwork and casework to its customers.

“When a project contains both architectural millwork and casework, AMC shines,” president and CEO George Reitz said. “Since conception AMC was an architectural millwork house. In 2010 we launched a division called AmeriCase, providing us the opportunity to offer our clients a combined approach.”
The company’s 45 employees use all kinds of wood species, veneers and composite materials to make reception desks, nurses stations, semi-custom and custom casework, display cases and panel systems in a 60,000 square foot location in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.

AmeriCase was formed to highlight and differentiate the strengths and capabilities of the two operations. American Millwork specializes in high-quality architectural millwork. The AmeriCase line produces a more standard, or semi-custom, product primarily targeted for the institutional, educational, retail and medical/healthcare users. (A third division, AMC Installers, does installation.)
In the AmeriCase semi-custom line of commercial casework they can make all the cabinets the same width to fit a certain space, rather than making three 20 inch cabinets and having 6 inches left over. All boxes can be the same custom dimensions, not stock sizes.
A new Schelling fh4 saw and VS 12 storage and retrieval system were added recently. “This system enables AmeriCase to streamline the process and allows the casegoods to be manufactured in a more efficient manner,” Reitz said. “Greater efficiency means we can offer our customer a more competitive price even when the product is semi-custom.”
AMC is being asked by customers to handle a wider range of details and materials, including metal, glass, stainless steel and preformed stone. “Our project management team will organize and orchestrate the buyouts on those things. Architects have an appreciation for that.”
The company serves the Mid-Atlantic region, and works with architects and contractors from Long Island to Virginia. Most millwork is commercial, and customers include colleges and universities, all kinds of health care, assisted living, restaurants, yacht clubs, country clubs and offices. The company also does some job shop work for millworkers in New York City, and their semi-custom casegoods are featured in places such as the new Freedom Tower (One WTC) on the World Trade Center site in Manhattan.

Solid wood and custom

Within the Emmaus operation, the solid wood production cell includes a Weinig moulder, SCMI shaper, Northtec sander and a Timesavers four-head 55-inch sander for veneer sanding. A tool room has a Weinig Rondamat 960 tool grinding machine and tooling profiles displayed on the wall.The custom production cell includes the bench work area where skilled craftsman make custom projects such as mahogany bars, courtroom witness stands, custom reception desks and nurse’s stations. This area includes a Holzma panel saw, Andi router, Brandt edgebander and a Ligmatech panel retrieval system.
A finishing booth handles anything the architect and designer specify. AMC will use conversion varnish, precat laqcquer, polyester, or conversion varnish, and will mix their own stains from dry pigments. A DeVilbiss 9-inch spray machine is used for finishing mouldings, especially when orders exceed 1000 lineal feet.
Reitz said that American Millwork’s five engineers have stepped up their game in software, using the latest Microvellum version 7.0. They have also used Crow’s Nest software management system for several years, which Reitz says tells the next person in the process what to do and has been very beneficial.

Casework production

The AmeriCase production area is separate and includes the new Schelling fh4 saw and VS 12 storage and retrieval system, along with kitting carts that move groups of cut pieces from place to place. The saw takes panels from the retrieval system, cuts them, and then they are machined, edgebanded, and go to dowel insertion and the case clamp.In addition to the new saw and retrieval system, the casework production area has a Holz-Her Pro-Master point-to-point, Accu-Systems HPJY boring and dowel machine, Brandt Ambition edgebander that does 20 mil (3/4-inch wood edge) edgebanding and Ligmatech Optimat MPP case clamp. Reitz says that they’ve been especially pleased with the Brandt edgebander.
Reitz is the current president of the New Jersey chapter of Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) and active with the leadership counsel and best practices, and supports the Woodworker Career Alliance. The company is QCP certified for both supply and installation, and both millwork and casegoods.
“The continuation of integrating technology with old world craftsman will be a never-ending goal and achievement,” Reitz said. “We intend to add a separate finishing area which will contain a tow line, downdraft booths and drying ovens.
“The architectural millwork and casework industry is not unique as the margins are being squeezed,” Reitz said. “There is not one industry that cannot say the same thing. If a company and/or industry are doing the same thing they were doing five or ten years ago they are on the way out. One needs to constantly reinvent themselves and adapt to the market.”

BYLINE: Karl D. Forth,