Benchtop designer and Ordering

In 2011 Kowhai Research Solutions undertook the development of a bench-top designer and online ordering tool for Amorini, a manufacturer of bench-tops located in Palmerston North. This tool enables a bench top to be designed by a Kitchen Professional, then an online order placed, all from within a modern web-browser. Once a bench top has been designed, and an order placed, the manufacturing data associated with a particular bench top enables can be downloaded from the web-server, then imported into software that interprets the various dimensions and material types and generates the required machine instructions for the CNC machine that actually manufactures the bench top.

The whole process from submitting a design to manufacture can be very fast, since the design is saved in a machine readable format throughout, it would be technically possible for a design to be commenced in the morning, manufactured then on a truck for delivery by afternoon although for operational reasons the promise is for delivery to be within 48 hours of confirmation.

The project was a cooperative effort between several individuals, including the project stakeholder. Between all ourselves, the range of skills to bring such a project to completion was demonstrated. The designer itself is written in JavaScript, using a number of open-source libraries to ease development. The main libraries used were Raphaƫl, to simplify working with vector graphics, jQuery and jQuery-ui, both very popular libraries for manipulating the browser objects and construct the user interfaces, and Sylvester, which is a vector, matrix and geometry library for JavaScript. The designer has knowledge of the actual materials used to construct a bench, hence what you design on screen is pretty much what will be delivered to a customer, including all the cut outs for sinks, hobs etc., also notches, arcs and window reveals that shape the final result. It is also possible to specify where the joins appear on benches that consist of two or more elements.

The bench top designer communicates to a back-end written in php, of the three leading PHP frameworks (Symfony, CakePhp, Zend and a few others) our web developer preferred and picked Zend, other choices could have been Ruby on Rails, Django, or Asp.Net MVC. In any case the chosen platform works well and is very fast.

The product is designed to work on modern browsers such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Apple Safari and Internet Explorer versions 8.0 and above. As customers begin to come aboard and improvements are suggested, it is expected that the application will be accordingly shaped and grow over time.

Acknowledgements:

Chris Prier – Project Sponsor Amorini
Andy – IT Consultant Logic Technology Solutions
Paul Smith – Web Developer Paul Smith Web