Tropical Kitchens uses EnRoute for....Emergency Shelters
Tropical Kitchens was one of the first small companies to use computer aided CNC manufacturing. A central part of its operation is SAi’s versatile EnRoute CAD/CAM software. Owner Frank Schooley saw EnRoute at a trade show and was impressed by the interface, which he found intuitive and easy to use. He found that every aspect of machining could be precisely controlled and different parts could be cut in individual ways, allowing quick, high quality production.
Tropical Kitchens uses locally sourced materials, renewable woods like bamboo, and recycles waste materials whenever possible. These materials are used to remodel kitchens, bathrooms, home offices, rebuilt closets and storage areas.
Schooley also uses recycled wood fiber material to produce a line of stylish furniture called Terrapeg™ that is both sturdy and sustainable. One of Terrapeg™ furniture’s unique features is that tables, chairs, beds, desks and other domestic and office furniture can be shipped flat-pack and assembled in minutes with only a hammer (a fiberboard hammer is included in the flat-pack) using “tool free joints.”
After hearing about the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, Tropical Kitchens owner Frank Schooley decided that he would find a way to help. He had experienced considerable success with his Terrapeg™ line of furniture and he felt that he could use the same basic principles to create shelters that would be cost-effective to make and simple to put together. The result was Shelter in A Day™.
Using EnRoute software, Frank designed a 12 x 12-foot shelter that could be built using the fiberboard he was familiar with and could be produced quickly, shipped easily and assembled within an afternoon to provide housing that was strong, long lasting, flexible and secure. The basic shelters can be extended with one or more 4 x 12-foot sections to create larger homes, classrooms, churches or clinics. The whole shelter can be shipped flat-pack along with a fiberboard hammer and can be assembled without any electricity or additional tools.
“The fiberboard, made from the earth’s most basic sustainable material, recycled wood fiber, is termite, rust and rot resistant and therefore suitable for most climates,” Frank says. “With lockable doors and windows, these shelters are better than tents which offer scant protection from the elements and little security. With Shelter in A Day™ accommodation, people can spend their time rebuilding their lives, not protecting what they have left.”
The shelters and furniture can all be made with the help of SAi EnRoute software which not only drives the router, but minimizes material waste through the combination of accurate cuts and efficient nesting.
“Since these shelters are designed for purchase by local charities, international aid organizations and government agencies, they must be confident that they are getting value for money,” concludes Frank. “The material savings enabled by computer aided manufacturing, including the EnRoute software, helps to deliver that assurance.”