Paterson Health Group (PHG) was the first company in the UK to design bespoke ergonomic cabinets for dentists, which historically, used ordinary cabinets and sideboards. The new system wraps around the dentist’s position at the head of the patient’s chair, ensuring both dentist and nurse can easily reach everything needed.

PHG managing director, Stuart Paterson, says that 35 years on from setting that trend for dentists, it remains the core of its business, although PHG now also creates doctors’ surgeries, medical centres and speciality clinics.

Operating out of 22,000 sq ft premises in Gloucestershire with 24 employees, PHG uses Cabinet Vision for designing and manufacturing all orders, mainly from MDF – including melamine for carcasses, and MDF core with high pressure laminate for fronts – along with solid acrylic and some Corian. “Because many dental surgeries are converted houses with unusual-shaped rooms,” says Stuart, “our standard product range is just the starting point. We need to tailor every cabinet to the customer’s individual needs, and Cabinet Vision does that extremely quickly and accurately.”

After surveying the site and taking measurements PHG drag-and-drops each cabinet from the standard catalogue into Cabinet Vision, then customises it to meet specific requirements. “Sometimes it’s just a case of altering widths and heights, but often includes a particular combination of drawers and frontages. Within moments we can change cabinets from a cupboard to a five-drawer bank. Even splitting drawers and keeping them within the right settings is child’s play for Cabinet Vision.

“When we shrink or expand one aspect, its parametric capability automatically changes everything else, so we don’t have to worry about moving lock holes, handles and hinges. We know they’ll be right, and the software also highlights overlaps and collision points. It saves us so much time.”

The customer then receives a 3D rendering, which includes the dental chair, so the dentist gets a proper feel for the room. “And thanks to Cabinet Vision we can also invite them to our showroom for a demonstration ‘walk-through’ of their surgery, spinning the image so they can see it from every angle. It even shows them how the light coming into the room will affect their main working area.”

Stuart Paterson says PHG designs a full surgery in around three hours, which used to take all day before it invested in Cabinet Vision.

Additionally, using the integrated S2M Center to send the NC code directly to the company’s Anderson Selexx CNC (Andi) router reduces material wastage by around half.

“S2M is an extremely powerful tool,” says Stuart, “we go from the design screen to Screen-To-Machine which automatically creates the toolpaths, optimising material usage.”

Previously PHG’s offcuts were often the size of half a shelf, while Stuart describes them now as thin strings of waste. This saving is fed back to the customer in lower prices.

Before investing in the Andi and Cabinet Vision four years ago, it took more staff three days longer to make a full surgery than it does now. “Someone spent a day writing out a cutting list from the design, then every panel had to be cut from a board, oversized. We had an early CNC pod which we coded at the machine and then we machined everything panel by panel. Now everything’s done in just one pass, and saves us two and a half operatives in the factory,” says Stuart.

Cabinet Vision also plays its part in helping PHG win contracts in the first place. With every job being completely bespoke, PHG makes extensive use of the built-in Bid Centre to produce accurate costings, enabling the company to give the customer the best possible price.

“It’s a price-driven market at the moment,” says Stuart, “and as we sell directly to the end-user, we design, manufacture and install, so we need to be highly competitive.

“As we’re never quoting from standard catalogue items, the fact that Cabinet Vision tells us exactly how much board we need for the carcases and fronts, and how many hinges, runners and handles we’ll need – along with putting on the mark-up, which we control – is absolutely vital. It pulls all those things together and produces a quote form which we export to Microsoft Word and send to the customer.”

He describes every stage of Cabinet Vision as being a ‘one-button-press’, from the Bid Centre to obtain the quote, generating the cutting list from the design, and sending NC code to the Andi. 

As well as dental practices across the UK, PHG also supplies the Ministry of Defence, having installed bespoke dental and medical surgeries at military bases in the Falkland Islands, Afghanistan, Belize, Brunei and throughout Europe. Operating in a tightly controlled niche market, Paterson Health Group fully understands about cross-infection, specific waste layouts, how to adequately house specialised equipment, and the different heights required between the dentists’ cabinets and those used by the nurses.

“There’s a world of difference between producing cabinets for this industry and the kitchen trade,” says Stuart Paterson. “But Cabinet Vision lets us translate our 35 years’ experience into producing exactly what the dentists need quickly, easily and accurately.”