Reasons to be cheerful

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell reports on one company’s decision to expand.

I’ve always said that the true barometer for the state of the industry is the health of the machinery manufacturers.

They operate at a different pace to everyone else. A window fabricator can ramp up supply relatively quickly to meet demand, but the different elements that go into creating a new machine mean that you can’t simply increase production by, say, 40%.

Also, if machinery manufacturers were to pull out all the stops and invest in all the component parts that go into making those machines, there is a lot to crumble should the market start to cool.

Which is why my conversation with Stuga’s Steve Haines this week was so enlightening: the company is moving to larger premises in a bid to increase production by about 20% over the course of the next year.

“The new factory is 30,000ft2,” Steve told me. “Not only is that twice the space we had originally, all of that is one uninterrupted area. Before, we had three units side by side, with two dividing walls that needed to be accommodated.

“We also have two overhead cranes that allow us to be more flexible with the flow of product through the factory, as different modules can now be easily moved as and when they are required.”

It seems that a bulging order book simply can’t be ignored, nor can exceeding your previous year’s budget, despite pandemic-enforced closures.

However, the company also wants to invest in its service and spare parts division, which has grown to become a significant part of operations.

“We can use space at the factory to rebuild and upgrade machines if demand for new machines drop of a cliff,” Steve said. Not that he expects demand to fall away any time soon.
So, if you were in any doubt about the new boom, Stuga’s expansion should convince you otherwise.