Developing into 2018

Stuga Machinery’s Steve Haines explains how the company had a busy 2017 building a wide variety of machines while designing a new top of the range sawing and machining centre, now known as the ZX5.

There are three ZX5s installed in the market with two more on order, and it is looking like this new model may eclipse the popular ZX4 in terms of orders as customers get a good bit more for their money without a huge price difference.

With regards to the ZX4, Polyframe Norwich has recently had a fifth one installed bringing its capacity up to 5,000 windows per week. This factory had its first ZX4 installed in 2005 and more have been added over the years.

Scotia Windows in Kilmarnock is going to have two ZX4s installed in its new factory, currently nearing completion. Frameline in Liverpool had a ZX4 installed in 2017. And major new-build fabricator Ford Windows in Sheffield installed a ZX4 in 2017 following the first one in 2016.

The less expensive ZX3 does everything the ZX4 does by way of cutting and prepping operations but less tooling makes this option a good one for companies like Radley Windows near Oxford and Coral Windows in Bradford which don’t require such a high output.

Coral Windows is based in a beautiful old cotton mill but it is quite a challenge when delivering and installing machinery. Stuga technical staff visited Coral Mill and liaised with the Stuga project team. Various individuals with a wide range of skills became involved with every detail being double checked to ensure a satisfactory conclusion. Coral had a fully dimensioned CAD drawing of its factory produced, which was double checked by Stuga and then the ZX3 footprint was digitally added to the drawing – again double checked by both companies to ensure every part of the machine would fit. A specialist delivery company was drafted in to ensure the machine was safely navigated through the smallish entrance and through some tricky access points.

The Stuga AutoFlow-2 is the smallest Stuga sawing and machining center in terms of output and footprint, but this model remains popular especially where space is an issue. In 2017 Clearview Glaziers in Peterborough took delivery of an AutoFlow-2 and we believe it has transformed its business with its ease of use and simple productivity.

Stuga also rebuilds older Stuga machines that have been taken in part exchange, and these have been very popular with more than 20 being sold in the last four years. 2018 started with a Flowline rebuilt into a Flowline/ZX3 specification. This one is installed at Kratos Windows of Cork in the Republic of Ireland.

These machines are properly rebuilt in the Stuga factory and are delivered with the latest hardware and software to insure against obsolescence, and so the Stuga Service Centre is easily able to give internet support at all times. With these complex machines in many far-flung places it is vital Stuga can use the internet to interrogate them in order to overcome small problems that can occur due to profile issues and operator errors.

Most Stuga machines supplied since 2008 have been fitted with cameras to help with fast diagnostics, and in more recent years these cameras have featured full HD video with two-way sound. Listening to a machine running is often a great way to fathom out what is wrong for an experienced technician, and Stuga has plenty of those.

Following some early sales in 2018, Stuga is hoping a slightly hesitant window industry will soon settle down to a sound year.