For the discerning fabricator

By Steve Haines, Stuga.

The Stuga ZX5 automatic sawing and machining center was created early in 2017 but was originally to be the ZX4-MK7.

The ZX4-MK6 was a well-established product, selling and working well but the time had come to upgrade it to incorporate new ideas and new technology.

Stuga also wanted to include ideas and suggestions from customers and Stuga field technicians to create some significant advances. By the time the list of innovations was complete it became obvious the name needed to be changed to reflect the fact that there were significant differences from the MK6.

The original ‘ZX’ name had been chosen as being ‘zippy’ and easy to remember so the decision was made to stick with it and progress to the ZX5 name. The original plan was to continue building the ZX4 as perhaps it still had a place in the range but the ZX5 quickly overcame the usual early teething issues, which were mostly software related, to create a situation where all customers chose the slightly more expensive ZX5. So, the ZX4 was dropped from the range.

Innovations on the new model include many background advances in the control systems but in particular a new, more versatile, gripper system that holds the ever more complicated multi-chambered profiles in use today, in a very tenacious grip.

The ZX5 very quickly drills two tooling holes at the start of each length of prolife and the gripper has pins that locate in these holes in a very precise way. The gripper pulls and pushes profiles through the sophisticated machining heads on roller beds and the grip is strong enough to allow the power applied to machining feeds to be seriously increased with a positive effect on accel and decel movements.

As the ZX5 is made of separate machining and sawing modules when the profiles are transferred to the saw side for cutting, the saw gripper uses the exact same tooling holes to ensure a perfect crossover of the datums meaning accuracy is fully maintained. A laser controls these functions for even greater integrity. The push/pull functions of the saw gripper allow the saw module to produce both cuts for a Y notch helping with accuracy on these difficult preps. Moving half of this preparation from machining to sawing also creates more balance between the two modules and again increases output.

The separate V notch module has been enhanced from the ZX4 version to create greater speed, depth and accuracy. The infeed to the machining center pre-measures the length of each profile so that it can feed straight into the machine as the last one passes out by which time the re-optimisation process has already completed allowing seamless batch processing progress and adding to the many increases in throughput.

Roller beds throughout the key areas of infeed, outfeed and transfer allow for faster, smoother pass through with enhanced accuracy. In addition to the already mentioned key improvements are many small but helpful changes to make the operator and maintenance staff experience an even better one.

The ZX5 has achieved 11 sales at time of going to press with six already installed during 2018. This flagship machine now replaces the stalwart that was the ZX4 and completes the range together with the ZX3 and AutoFlow-2.

Stand-alone sawing and prepping centers also remain popular for the small to medium sized fabricator as they are lower cost, more versatile in space terms, as well as being reliable and easy to use and maintain. Add to that Stuga’s legendary service what more can the discerning PVCU window and door frame fabricator wish for?