Step changes in design

By Steve Haines, Stuga.

We hear more and more from the national press about the difficulty finding reliable labour, and this has been made worse by the result of the referendum from what we are told.

I hear from much of the PVCU window and door fabrication industry that they struggle to get good people and this is creating problems on a regular basis. For Stuga and its customers this labour problem is good news because we have some great solutions for automation.

Our most popular products for nearly 20 years have been automated sawing and machining lines, and this is because they dramatically reduce operators and waste while improving quality and consistency. Gains from excellent optimisation of profile usage are also very significant.

As the industry matures it naturally changes but for Stuga this seems to create a demand for more features on its machines to attempt to further reduce operator skills and eliminate more errors.

The latest version of our top of the range sawing and machining center is called the ZX5, and since its launch 18 months ago it has sold well and performed well.

Using everything good from the previous ZX4 model, Stuga has incorporated new ideas and new technology combined with improvements based on feedback from customers and their technicians as well as from Stuga technicians.

The big step changes in the ZX5 design come from the new gripper system that is designed to overcome challenges created by the trend towards more profile chambers. The new gripper always grips totally positively allowing the powerful CNC drives to perform at their maximum power constantly as well as create optimum acel/decel thereby improving cycle times.

The machine also grips in exactly the same positive position on both the sawing and machining modules. The ZX5 is a sawing module working in tandem with a machining module to eliminate most situations where the two operations are often delayed while one waits for the other. Along with a considerable buffer/transfer table this modular approach is far superior to most ‘inline’ sawing and machining centers where delays between the two processes can be clearly detected. Other benefits include a warning to operators when a cutter has broken and measurement of profiles to flag up quality/dimensional issues.

For discerning fabricators, the ZX5 improves output and quality and can produce in the region of 800 to 1,100 windows per week depending on styles, size, product mix and operations deployed.

The machine is entirely British built using parts built or resourced here in the UK, and is designed by British designers for British profile systems. Stuga has been building sawing centers and machining centers for more than 30 years. To date, Stuga has sold 14 ZX5s and installed eight of them. Fabricators installed so far include CMS Enviro (two machines), Polyframe Livingston, Astraseal, Britannia Windows, Sliding Doors and Windows, Inverness Glass, and Sidey Construction.

Stuga provides a comprehensive warranty with the ZX5 which includes regular servicing and this package is available for the customer to purchase at the end of the warranty. The package also includes internet diagnostics with cameras as well as software support, which is readily used by one of several Stuga technicians who are able to access machines from anywhere to anywhere.

There are eight mobile technicians based throughout the UK enabling customers to enjoy an extremely fast response time if something goes wrong. Stuga encourages customers and potential customers to visit its Norfolk facility where they can see the total care package at work and meet the team behind it.