Custom Clamping Machine for Dynamic Wood Windows & Doors

In this case study, we delve into the strategic problem-solving offered by SHAKO for client Dynamic Wood Windows & Doors. Dynamic has been making custom windows and doors for over 30 years and are truly experts at their craft. They needed an automated solution tailored to their exact process. Together we developed a custom machine that tackled the most significant bottleneck in their process, resulting in increased throughput by a factor of 14x.  

The machine concept utilizes a large inflatable industrial hose, seen beneath the boards in the photos above and below (white tube). The boards are held in place by locking the adjustable steel beam against the top surface of the boards. When the operator opens a valve, an air compressor inflates the tube to a desired pressure, thereby clamping the boards between the steel beams. 

Clamping the boards evenly along their length is critical to an acceptable final product. Previously this task required two operators repeatedly adjusting  each of the dozen or more clamps by hand. By allowing the inflatable tube to raise by a small amount, the clamping beams will self align and evenly apply pressure across the surface of the boards. This ingenious design means there is no adjustment needed to achieve a perfectly flat and even clamp, every time. 

From the early phases of ideation to the final stages of assembly, SHAKO's holistic approach ensures every project is executed with precision, dedication, and an unwavering commitment to client satisfaction. In a world of one-size-fits-all solutions, SHAKO’s tailored engineering sets us apart as a firm that not only builds but innovates for specific customer needs.

Manual process of laying up wood components and clamping them for assembly.

SHAKO engaged closely with the client, identifying the most significant bottleneck in their manufacturing process—the labor-intensive task of gluing and clamping veneers onto solid wood cores. This procedure required two workers spending approximately 30 minutes to manually assemble clamps for 10 boards. A typical order could include 40 or more doors and windows and require hundreds of these layered boards to be assembled per week. 

SHAKO designed and implemented a machine that significantly streamlined this process, enabling just a single worker to lay the boards, and apply the clamping pressure with the simple flip of a switch. We cut the task time from 3 minutes per board with two operators to just 25 seconds per board with one operator, significantly boosting efficiency and productivity. That's over 14x improvement in man-hours!

Through this project, SHAKO not only alleviated the operational bottleneck but has also paved the way for enhanced efficiency and productivity by freeing up the second operator for other tasks, exemplifying our commitment to delivering impactful engineering solutions.

The following sections outline the systematic phases SHAKO undertakes, from ideation to onsite assembly, in order to deliver tailored solutions that meet and often exceed client expectations. Feel free to skip ahead to your desired section, or read on for the full story.

Before a single line is drawn or any metal is cut, the team at SHAKO begins with understanding the client’s needs. We collaborate with customers to develop a concept that's not just viable but is a perfect fit for the given challenge. The process may involve site visits and industry specific research, ensuring we grasp the broader context of the project.

We delve deep into the business benefits of the solutions. This means evaluating potential cost and time savings, understanding the shop floor workflow, considering safety, ergonomics, and ensuring smooth integration into the existing workflows.

3D Design

By leveraging 3D design tools, SHAKO provides a tangible representation of the envisioned solution. Visualizing the design allows both the engineer and the client to brainstorm further, and iron out any discrepancies - landing on an ideal design.

3D Stress Simulation

It's one thing to visualize a design and another to ensure it'll stand the test of real-world conditions. SHAKO uses advanced simulation tools to comprehend how the design will perform, especially under varying load conditions, ensuring the final product is both efficient and durable. This is a valuable step to secure customer buy-in before moving forward. The above image is a visual representation of how the beams will deflect, or flex, under load. The color plot shows the resulting stress in the steel, which can be used to determine if the beams are properly sized for the application. 

Fabrication Drawings

With a finalized design in hand, SHAKO moves on to creating detailed 2D fabrication drawings. We can also transfer 3D design files directly to in-house CNC machines, to ensure seamless fabrication. Amidst this phase, we employ rigorous version control practices, ensuring that every change is tracked, and the most updated design is always at the forefront.


SHAKO's fabrication process showcases a blend of modern techniques and time-tested craftsmanship. We utilize:

Additionally, SHAKO's adaptability allows us to execute many aspects of fabrication directly at the customer's site if the project demands it.

Final Assembly

The assembly process is the culmination of all the preceding efforts. Depending on the project's scale and complexity, SHAKO is equipped to assemble components either at the SHAKO workshop or directly at the customer site, ensuring minimal disruption to the client's operations.

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About the author: Justin Pratt