Keeping Hinges Organized

Advice on organizing hinge inventory, and making sure the correct hinges get installed. August 15, 2011

I have a five person shop in need of tips/advice for euro hinge organization. We use several combinations of Salice, but guys cannot keep them straight in their bins. Color coding? We have them fastened to the bins, but this hasn't helped. Any ideas? Or a more fundamental question, do you purposely only use a few different options of hinges? We like to have several options around for full overlay, or inset with a variety of offset faceframes.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
The overwhelming majority of my cabs use the Salice full overlay. I also inventory a small number of inside 45deg, outside 45deg, blind end and flush inlay hinges. My setup uses the 3mm plate with all those hinges although I do inventory both ff plates and other thicknesses for really no good reason other than to have them available. We have one big bin for the standard hinge and one big bin for the standard plate. The other small bins aren't messed with much. With labels there's never been any confusion as to where things go.

From contributor B:
I like the employee color coding system. You may also try an electronic storage system that would deliver a low voltage jolt if your guy tries to put a hinge away in the wrong bin. Seriously, maybe we could help with some high resolution photos of the hinges and part numbers that could be printed on labels to attach to the front of the drawer. At a glance it may be difficult to identify a mounting plate, particularly those close in thickness (0mm, 2mm, 3mm). These can appear very similar unless examined closely. On the underside of the plate you will find the thickness of the plate molded into the casting (H0, H2, H3).

Another suggestion might be to assign one employee to the regular task (say, once a week) of organizing the drawers. This guy would be able to use peer pressure on his co-workers to stay with the plan. For the smaller volume items you could use smaller drawers. These would hold the items that are used infrequently. Larger drawers would hold those items that you may keep case quantities on hand. Some Salice distributors offer organizational systems of racks and bins to help organize many shop items and supplies including hinges and plates. There may also be a way to streamline the number of items you inventory in the shop.

From contributor D:
In our shop the stock plates are all the same, there are big bins for the motion controlled and normal 110 degree standard hinges. Then there are five different smaller bins for the other hinges (45, double hung, etc.). We also do a lot of top lift systems. The bins are clearly marked with our internal part name and the SKU code.

Each assembly has an assembly sheet that details the reveals for the doors, and the hinges used as well as the mount location. The assembly sheets are kept at the boring machines until all the operations are completed. Then the finished parts for the assemble and the assembly sheet are placed in a buffer rack or usually go straight to the assembly area. The assembly area is five feet from the boring machines. Once the assemblers get the parts and assembly sheet they start mounting the plates and pulling the arms and doors (we make the doors before the cases in a separate cell). We frequently have different hinges used for special jobs (stainless, barrel, face frame, inset). In these cases there are extra bins for holding the special parts. These bins are also labeled to match the hinge name on the assembly sheet.

I break up a shift into one batch, usually around 20 assemblies. While the doors, backs and drawer parts are being processed (first step in my shop) the assemblers pull the needed hardware from the cage and fill the bins with the needed amount of parts. I usually already have the exact amount of hardware pre packaged and labeled. In fact I have my suppliers do this for me so the delivery is already packaged into the correct amounts and labeled with the job name.

If your employees are consistently grabbing the wrong parts I would guess that you are not giving them enough information. How do they know which hinge goes on a given assembly? You cannot assume that they will know simply because it is a XXXX cabinet and XXXX cabinets always have that hinge. You need to give them an assembly sheet or some sort of report that details the needed parts.

If you have a labeling system and customizable reports in your software you can have the door labels indicate what type of hinge they will receive. I am not doing this now but it is on my list of things to have set up next time I have Cabinet Vision empty my bank account!