CNC Machines Enable COVID-19 Best Practices For Small Shops

Chris Corrales, Founder Of CNC Factory, Left, Said The Covid-19 Pandemic Didn’t Set The Course For Woodworking Shops To Function Tighter, With Fewer Employees, Less Square Footage And More Automation, But It Did Speed It Up.

SANTA ANA, Cal. – When Chris Corrales founded CNC Factory five years ago he didn’t have a crystal ball showing that wood shops would be forced to do more with less people in 2020. At the same time he has achieved his overarching goal for each CNC Factory machine he manufactures and sells to function with only one operator, and in many cases, to be driverless for long periods of time. “I have always wanted CNCs to be as commonplace as the table saw and today they are,” said Corrales. He cites the 2019 Cabinet Makers Association (CMA) Benchmark Survey that 85% percent of cabinet shops now operate with at least one CNC machine and 50 percent have five or fewer employees. “The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t set the course for woodworking shops to function tighter, with fewer employees, less square footage and more automation, but it did speed it up.” For more than 15 years Corrales was a cabinetmaker. “I know that when we talk about CNCs my customers are doing the math in determining how long a machine will take to pay for itself and make money. Simply put, that’s ROI, return on investment.”

Corrales said most of his customers were already adhering to state-enforced Covid-19 mandates with 10 or less employees in one working environment. In addition, he said that many of their production schedules have sped up since March as their customers take advantage of less foot traffic and closed offices to remodel. “Since March I’m seeing wood shops buy CNC machines for the very first time, and some buying their second or third CNC, to keep up with production demands,” Corrales said. “All customers are choosing machines that will allow them to accomplish more work with fewer employees in less time. — such as the Driverless Python XPR, and the machine that inserts hidden fasteners for fast, slide-to-lock assembly, the Scorpion LDR.”

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