Living and office space is becoming more and more expensive and as a result units are becoming smaller to ensure affordability. The result is that as spaces become smaller, they become more cramped and difficult to manage. Clutter, of any description, is easily noticed and hard to hide. The solution can be found in innovative, clever and modularly-designed storage and furniture units which maximise the use of space according to the specific task at hand. These units offer even more versatility when they are able to fulfil more than one purpose.
RAW Modular is a concept design, manufacture and installation company focusing on the process of creating furniture, storage units and even compact living structures which maximise and prioritise the use of available space while also enhancing the aesthetics of the interior or exterior space. Founded more than 16 years ago by Peet van Straaten, RAW Modular uses birch plywood laminates to design and develop striking, functional and space-saving structures and furniture for customers in all walks of society from large corporates, looking for solutions that make a statement, to individuals with extremely limited space, who need a solution which will simplify their lives by making the best use of the available space.
Plywood wood laminates are 2D elements, which RAW modular turns into beautiful and functional items of furniture and even living structures through innovative and creative design techniques and with the use of market-leading technology. Creativity and design are the key elements in conceptualising custom furniture and solutions to meet the specific needs of a client to match the space available. However, production technology is the link between concept and the finished functional product.
To meet its production needs, RAW Modular opted for the R2-2030V/90 CNC Router from local CNC systems specialist AM.CO.ZA. This CNC router, which comes with a 12 position automatic tool changer, is a heavy duty machine designed for industrial applications. It features a cutting table capable of handling boards up to 2030 x 3050mm and features full vacuum suck-down to ensure that materials are held securely during the cutting process avoiding unnecessary and costly errors, or even injury to operators, due to unwanted movement
Speaking about the importance of the router, Peet van Straaten said, ‘This device is the cornerstone of our facility. Not only is it the essential element in the production of the units we manufacture, but it is also fundamental in all of our design concepts. We would not be able to produce the components we conceptualise without taking into account how the CNC router works. Therefore, every item we design considers the capabilities of the router. That said, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of what the router can do.’
The selection of the right CNC router for its production requirements was a very important process to the team at RAW Modular. While production is important, so is the ability to manage and contain costs – both initial and on-going costs. According to Peet, the CNC router from AM.CO.ZA was selected because it offered not only the high level of industrial production capability required, but also reliability and cost-effectiveness. He stated, ‘The router came at a very reasonable purchase price but also includes cost-saving features during the production process which makes it suitable for our specific needs.’
RAW modular uses the router not only for the production of its various elements, but also as a testing device to prove the viability of new concepts. Much of the work the company does is based on one-off projects for architects, interior designers and space planners and as such the units being manufactured have to be conceptualised, designed, and prototyped in order to ensure that they will work. This means that RAW is constantly developing new and unusual techniques and uses for the router, effectively pushing the capabilities of the machine to greater heights.
Peet added, ‘This has been an extremely reliable and easy-to-use machine and has managed to keep pace with the demands we have thrown at it. It has also allowed us to move more into the conceptualisation arena where we do the design and testing and then supply plans and drawing for the products to external manufacturers who use our concepts to create the finished products. This was partly thrust on us by the restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 lock down which saw our ability to meet with clients being diminished and our production capabilities impeded. However, it also offered us the opportunity to focus on our key strengths which were in the design process. As a result of our shift in focus, many more companies are learning how they can use their routers to achieve things they never knew were possible and as a result there is a spread of knowledge and an increase in expertise which benefits everyone involved.’
As more companies work hand-in-hand with RAW Modular, and its designs spread further afield, it means that its concepts can be found around the country, and even overseas, giving it a truly global reach. As a result, its client base includes individuals with specific space-saving requirements, families who live in one of its unique living structures right up to corporates and franchises who make use of its designs for office furnishings and the creation of a specific ambience in restaurants and public areas.
The combination of creativity from the team at RAW Modular and the production capability of the router from AM.CO.ZA makes for a formidable and expanding finished product range designed to turn open space into an exciting element in people’s lives, giving them the best of beauty and functionality.
About RAW: We live, develop, prototype and make sustainable modular design solutions, furniture systems and compact living structures that simplify the way you work and live.
About AM.CO.ZA: A leading supplier of large-format cutting and printing solutions aimed at industrial applications with a view to maximising our customer’s productivity, efficiency and profitability.