How often have you ended up frustrated with the poor slide hardware used in the drawer slides of your work desk? it’s almost a regular frustration. isn’t it?
Similarly, we often face trouble with the cabinet doors and that too is primarily because of the poor cabinet door hardware used in the door slides. Not only is this frustrating and annoying to the ears but it also drains you of your money and time. This fact makes it important to understand the depths of slide function, how to properly install them, the types of drawer slides, and above all how to avoid and prevent these weak drawer slides and the issues they cause.
We have compiled a detailed analysis of all the possible reasons for weak drawer slides and also all the preventive measures you can take to avoid this frustration altogether.
The first thing to understand here, is what can be classified as drawer problems or weak slide issues, once you have learned how to make a proper diagnosis of the problem only then can you proceed on to the right preventative maintenance.
What can be the possible weak drawer slide problems?
Most drawer slides wither away or lose their function over time leaving behind drawers with poor functionality and horrible user experience. This can be due to a fault in a particular slide hardware manufacturing process.
However most drawer slides can be fixed and the streamlined smooth motion of a drawer can be restored only if you manage to understand the problematic symptoms in your drawer slides, and that too on time.
Following are some signs that hint at problematic drawer slide hardware an d problematic drawer slide function. If you notice any of these in your drawers, it is high time to get your tools and sort the issues.
Drawers not sliding smoothly:
If your drawer gets stuck and is not moving smoothly when you open or close it, consider this as an alarm. this is time to sort out and remove all the unnecessary items from your drawers. Remove the drawers from their sockets and clean the slide rails of the drawer to ensure maximum lubrication.
This is one issue almost all of us face occasionally with our drawers and cabinets. Using a drawer is not a one-time event it is rather a very regular and usual one. We keep using our drawers throughout the day and most of the time we subject the drawers to abuse by slamming them close and treating them roughly.
Another major reason for this issue is the overstuffing of drawers. in many offices, kitchens and workplaces drawers and cabinets are simply piled up with files, kitchenware or appliances.
Drawers are meant to be used as storage locations, which makes complete sense, but we do need to consider the storage area when putting something in a drawer or cabinet. Most of us don’t bother paying attention to the weight capacity, material and space of a drawer which results in overstuffing, overloading and eventually deterioration of the drawer slides.
It is important to consider that only a heavy-duty drawer can be used for heavy-duty applications. if you overburden the light weighed and smaller drawers and cabinets it will weaken the slides.
Another reason for poor drawer sliding can be the quality of the drawer slides. There are several drawer slide hardware manufacturers and with an increase in the number of manufacturers, there is an automatic increase in the quality and designs of drawer slides. Low quality and low-cost drawer slides are usually incompetent when it comes to functionality.
Now that we know the basic reasons resulting in poor slide function let’s dig into what are the possible solutions to manage and reduce this problem.
The first thing to do is to keep a regular check on the function of the drawer slides. Any time you feel that the slide function is not smooth, that is time to get things checked.
It is emphasized by all speciality retailers, kitchen remodelers, and all other manufacturers to regularly clean the drawer slides. Debris can always accumulate and restrict the motion of a drawer on the slide rail.
Never overload the drawer boxes, it can not only harm the slide hardware but can also ruin the levelling of the drawers in your workplace.
Last but not least be careful when manufacturers reduce costs this can be a hint that either that particular slide is getting a bad rating or it is just not up to the mark for a high-quality drawer slide. It is fair to look for an affordable price but anyone offering you a huge margin in the cost is someone you should be aware of.
Drawers losing their stability or level:
Yet another major issue faced by most people, unstable or imbalanced drawers can be one of the visual signals of poor drawer slide installation.
Kitchen cabinets are also very prone to such damage. cabinet doors can hang down or edge out losing their actual place and ruining the visual effect of the kitchen aesthetic. Mostly this happens with the wall cabinets and especially the face frame kitchen cabinets.
Another reason for this problem can be an issue with the size of the drawer socket and the size of the drawer. This won’t be a big deal if you take some time to exactly measure everything before purchasing or even exploring the drawer slide hardware or kitchen cabinet hardware options.
Wood species which include wood cabinets and all the engineered wood cabinet hardware can easily get damaged if exposed to moisture all the time. Wood products can swell up if they are exposed to watery surfaces all the time.
Again, overloading the cabinets and drawers can always ruin the levelling and shape of a drawer or a cabinet. It is important to have a clean workplace and to learn workplace organization skills. as organized work practices will help your drawers never overload.
Yet another major factor contributing to this issue is the poor quality slide rails.
The first thing you need to do is stop slamming the drawers. Be gentle with the drawers as that surely will lower the impact of the sudden thud on the slides and will increase the lifespan of your slide hardware. The same goes for the kitchen cabinets
The second important thing to take care of is to invest in a professional to install drawer slides this will eliminate the chance of error with measurements. If you are on a budget and or are keen to install drawer slides all by yourself, we suggest watching a couple of youtube tutorials and paying heed to every tip. Make sure you get all the power tools needed to install drawer slides to be sure of maximum reliability on the nails and fixtures used.
If you are installing wood cabinets or drawers made of engineered wood, make sure you keep the surfaces dry and never expose them to water as water can be fatal to your precisely designed wooden cabinets and drawers. Modern designs such as built-in cabinets pull out shelves, and specialty hardware for kitchen cabinets these options can allow maximum protection for your cabinet material.
Make sure you don’t hang or put all your weight on the cabinet door while leaping high to take out stuff from a wall cabinet. Most face frame kitchen cabinet doors are sensitive to weight or an excessive pull.
Same way, when using base cabinets don’t rest on the cabinet doors as the hinges may break or lose their place causing an imbalance in the position of the cabinet doors
Always invest in high-quality drawer slides and never over-load your drawers and cabinets.
Drawers make noise when completing a cycle:
This issue is either because the sliding surface of your drawer slide has gunk or debris on it, it can be because of any obstruction/breakage in the slide rail and above all the main reason for the horrible noise of a sliding drawer or a cabinet can be the rusting surface of the slide.
To be honest, how many times have you been driven crazy by a horrible squeaky drawer in your house? I can tell already, a couple of times. No matter what material your drawers are made of and how expensive it is, if not properly taken care of it will drag you into the frustration and craziness of its squeaking noise.
The question remains how can we avoid this? and the answer is very straightforward, you can avoid the squeaking drawers by incorporating small steps to clean and sanitize your slide hardware. Incorporating these steps is easier but to sustain step is easy said than done.
If you have never given a thorough spa day to your drawer slides, this is time you start learning these new practices of cleanliness. they will serve you well in the long run.
the number of times you need to clean the drawer slides depends on the work environment and work processes these drawers are subjected to.
All you need to do is, take the drawers out of their sockets, and get an antiseptic wipe or a lubricant to spray on the slide hardware/ cabinet hardware. leave it on for some time and rub off any dirt or gunk from the surfaces. A process as simple as this can help you get clean non-squeaky drawers.
Don’t forget to clean the drawer pulls, and cabinet components, this will allow a thorough cleanup for your convenience.
However, if the drawer slides or cabinet hinges are showing rust on them, you need to give them a different cleanup.
take baking soda in a dish add a few drops of lime or vinegar to it and make a paste. Rub it all over the rusty surface and leave it for an hour or so. now take a clean paper towel or cloth and rub away the rust from the surface. You can also use potato peels to rub the rust away.
What are some major types of drawer slides?
There are a couple of different drawer slides depending on the type of installation process and the functionality. Three major types are explained briefly as follows.
Wooden slides are more traditional and old school kinds of slides. They have a very different installation as compared to the rest of the slides. A few qualities of these drawer slide areas are that they need not be fitted like the metal slides they are usually carved with the drawer and the socket itself. They are a part of the drawer and need no metallic support. The drawer front can be used as the face frame instead of a dummy face as in metallic slides. However, these slides do not offer a full extension and can get stuck in humid weather.
Side Ball bearing slides:
These slides are easy to use, install, remove, and replace, all this by just pressing a lever. these slides can be adjusted in a variety of different ways. However, there are a few drawbacks as these slides are visible and take up space between the drawer and its socket. The side ball bearing slides are not silent they produce the sound of metal on metal.
Self-Closing undermount slides:
These slides are modern and are silent, they are invisible which is one of the key demands in every modern piece of furniture. The exciting feature of these drawer slides is that you don’t need to shut the drawer, instead it will automatically close because of the spring mechanism of the self-closing slides. However, they require extra precision when installing drawer slides also they do take up space just like the side ball-bearing slides. In short, you cannot afford to just play around with the installation of the slide.
What is the 5S system?
5S system can be defined as a systemic lean manufacturing tool, which helps to have a more organized and efficient workplace with minimum wastage. This system is practically used by drawer slide hardware manufacturers and cabinet hardware manufacturers for lean manufacturing. Let us dig in a little deeper to understand the theory and science behind the term 5S.
The entire process consists of five functional steps each starting with a letter S, hence the name 5S. the five steps are as follows:
⦁ Sort phase
⦁ Set in order
This is a manufacturer’s guide for ensuring high-quality output and staying organized. we have explained the workflow of each of these steps in detail as follows. Just be sure that all these steps are linked with each other in strict order so the order or the sequence of these steps is crucial to follow.
The first step is to tidy up the workspace. for this, you remove all the unnecessary items from your work area. This involves clearing out all the mess from your work zone. The goal for this step should be to clear up all the clutter, put everything where it belongs, get rid of all that is unnecessary and identify the unknown items. Breaking the first S into further steps will help you stay more focused.
Take a look at all that is covering up your workspace. These can include tools, materials, guides, maps, gadgets or appliances. Make a list of all that is necessary for your project in that space. make a list of all the necessary items present in this mess. keep them aside for further use.
Now identify all the crap that needs to be thrown away. Pack it all and throw it in the bin. There would be some useful items that you don’t need for this particular project but you recognize their usage and hence need to keep them where they belong. These might come in handy in your future projects. Now, you might find a couple of different things that you don’t exactly understand the purpose of. This unknown stuff needs to be kept safe for future use.
Tagging the unknown:
Pile up all the unknown stuff and tag it in one particular color. usually, the unknown stuff is tagged in red because of the high visibility of the red color.
All the stuff you don’t identify the ownership of or you are unsure where exactly it belongs, needs to go in the red-tagged area. So red tag all such items and take the collection to the red tag area of your workplace. The red-tagged area should be checked periodically by the section managers or line managers in case anything useful that went missing has been brought up here. If you are unable to find some tool, important map or any such item you should first check in your red-tagged area.
Putting in place the tagged items:
To make sure that you are not just storing things for “just in case use” and no actual need, there is a time limit for any red-tagged item to be kept in the red tag zone. Any item should usually be kept in the red-tagged zone for 30 days and not more.
If no one claims that item during this time but it is a useful item then after 30 days a supervisor may claim it for his particular workspace. also, the item can be sold or recycled and if not useful can even be thrown away. It is however advised to save these items in the storage warehouses of the company just in case a need for them pops up shortly.
Set In Order:
Now that your workspace is clutter-free and what remains is just a pile of all the things necessary for your work processes. It’s time to sort out and systemically organize your workspace and work items.
As the name of this process itself clarifies the subject, so you need to set everything to ensure easier access to all you need. This can be stated as simplifying your work zone. Deciding a place for everything and making sure that all items are easy to find, replace, use, and return. for that, we have broken down the process into two steps as follows.
You need to be smart while organizing your workplace. the items you need to use regularly should be placed and sorted near you for easy access and those that are rarely required can go somewhere in the storage accessible to anyone from your workplace.
The best way to do all of this is to create a map of your workspace. such maps can help you get an overview of all the workstations, processes, pathways, storage areas and other manufacturing sites within your work zone. Mapping out your space not only gives clarity but also provides you with a thorough insight into where should you place everything and how you can organize the cabinetry in your workplace.
Such a map is called a 5S map and it can be used as a key to finding the location of each and everything within your zone of work. This is a visual representation of your access to all the stuff you need and how it correlates to the rest of your environment. A good map should include a description of each area of work, each cabinetry, tool stock cabinetry, and precisely everything in that particular area.
first of all, organize everything. once you are done with that you can draw a map and keep it for future training uses and references.
the next important step is to communicate the plan. once you have organized the entire space and are done with putting everything in place the next important step is to let your team know about all the details and explain the location of everything to them. It is equally important to label every storage rack, drawer and cabinet so that it gets easy for everyone to know where each thing is and what is in each storage space.
You also need to make sure that everything is easy to find and put back in its fixed place. for that, all you need to do is use shadow boards this can help your colleagues understand what needs to go where. This provides clarity to the workers and also helps save the time and effort to search every drawer and cabinet. You can also enhance the ease of access by using the floor marking tape which extends the 5S mapping to your floor surface. a glance at the floor will let everyone know where they are heading to.
Shine in this perspective is synonymous with cleanliness. with the first two steps you have organized and set up the entire workplace now comes the challenge of maintaining this organized space. This can be done primarily by ensuring that you incorporate and introduce high levels of cleanliness and hygiene in your workspace.
A clean environment will help the workers complete their tasks more precisely and with more efficiency. This will automatically increase and enhance the quantity and the quality of your output.
Make sure to follow a regular cleaning routine. This helps remove all the dust and grime from your work surfaces leaving behind 0 build-up and squeaky clean shiny surfaces. You don’t need a janitorial or maintenance staff regularly instead make it a rule for every worker to clear their workstation after use. This will help you and your business in the long run.
This practice has many benefits. It will make the workers familiar with their workstations and their area of work. It will nourish a sense of responsibility in the workers and will also create a sense of positive competition among themselves. More senior workers will get a thorough grip on the fixed places for all the equipment and so they’ll be able to keep a check on whatever goes missing or is misplaced. It will get easier to handle hazards and emergencies.
You can keep a little bonus or a prize for the cleanest workstation ever now and then to promote this practice of cleanliness in the surroundings.
This practice will also reduce the risks of malfunctioning as workers will get more familiar with their workstations and will easily figure out any disturbance in their usual station. which means it will get easier to figure out leaks, dents, misalignments or cracks.
This will automatically reduce the emergency downtime and will enhance the focus and sense of responsibility of your workers thus increasing production. so errors like weak or disassembled drawer slides will automatically get out of the question.
To pave your way to a long term change, you will need to standardize all that is being done. to standardize means to assign different tasks to different people and keep a weather check whether it is being done your way or not. This practice is the most important one out of all.
You can not handle the entire factory all by yourself so it is crucial to assign certain tasks to different people. You need to write down all of it just assigning is not enough.
Write it down:
The best way to keep a check is by taking notes. this is one crucial step. It is important to keep a note of everything that needs to be taken care of and the person who is taking care of it. You can make it a habit to rate the performance of these people every month. You can always switch and change your mind about different rules. however, it can’t be emphasized enough to write everything as they say, “if it is not written, it never happened”.
you can always help yourself with different tools these tools will make the process a lot easier for you.
Make charts to clarify the rules and work zones of all the people. This will help your workers know what you are expecting from them. Understand the demand of the task, design a schedule and then assign the task to the worker. Give instructions on the chart.
Checklists are also a good option when it comes to taking notes. these help your workers keep an eye on all that is expected of them and mark their progress as they proceed on through the day.
Labels and Signs:
Use labels and signs in your workplace to ensure maximum understanding of rules and regular procedures.
Discipline or sustainability is the 5th step of the 5S system. This is the most crucial step of all. This includes the consistency of following all the above-mentioned steps. All of this is like a cycle and you can only avoid error and bad quality put output if you are consistent with this cycle.
here are a few steps you can follow to make sure you are consistent with all that needs to be taken care of and not just you but also your workers should be consistent.
teamwork makes the dream work. considering this quotation always make sure that your managers and supervisors are cooperative towards your staff and they are empathetic enough to understand the problems of the staff and offer guidance. They should neither be very friendly nor rude but more towards the polite side. This ensures that your workers are being treated responsibly and professionally.
Always promote cross-pollination between your workers. give them tours to different departments and even your commercial competitors so this will make them pick up new ideas and bring out more creativity.
Always be flexible with your training programs. with time new ideas keep coming into the market and you need to be smart enough to grab the ideal ones for you. for example the installation process today for cabinet doors has become a lot more modern than the one we followed 10 years back. Similarly, the design of the drawer sides and cabinet parts has also been updated. which means it is important to keep updating your training programs and equip your workforce with the ideal and most modern procedures.
Audits and Evaluation:
audits and evaluations help keep a grip on the progress made by your factory and they also help you recognize the people who can prove to be assets for your business shortly. so make sure you keep up with regular audits and evaluations to be fully aware.
Summarizing all of it, you need to realize what failed your slides. It applies anyways, no matter if you are a domestic user or a manufacturer.
A bad user experience must be because of careless handling of the hardware be it cabinet hardware or drawer slide hardware. We have extensively explained above, how not to treat your drawers and cabinets.
A bad manufacturing experience can be because of a poor work environment, careless handling and irresponsible behaviour of the staff members. poor handling of the raw materials and the hardware used. The 5S system is a thorough explanation of an ideal workplace to enhance the quality and quantity of the output and also promote a light yet energetic environment and