Stuga ZX4-MK5. Cooking on gas!
Many fabricators have enjoyed the benefits of the Stuga ZX4 sawing & machining center since its launch in May 2005 and this particular model has been the surprise package for Stuga since the recession began to ebb 18 months ago, becoming the number one seller in the Stuga range and even outselling the very popular AutoFlow-2. ZX4 sales in this period have been eight with five of those already commissioned.
Stuga like to continually improve their machines as knowledge and technology move on and this has happened so many times over the last ten years that Stuga has toyed with the idea of changing the name to reflect the big changes the machine has gone through. The problem is that the ZX4 name has become so well known a name change could be detrimental by creating the impression that it is a new machine whereas in reality there have been constant incremental changes, some small and some significant but being incremental there are not the issues created by major changes.
Following ten years of constant development the ZX4 is now at the ‘MK5’ level and comes with many improvements over the original. Some improvements are to the software, some to the control systems, some mechanical and some are feature based. The ZX4-MK5 utilises Beckhoff technology and Windows 8.1 software giving it the same leading technology as one or two more expensive machines but at a lower price due to the advantages of manufacturing it in the UK and the fact there are no dealer margins to add to the price. The ZX4 doesn’t change ‘MK’ with each change or improvement, only when there are step changes that improve the machine considerably. Many of the MK5 changes are control and function changes but these have led to a significant leap in speed for many operations as well as more accuracy.
A key to the success of the Stuga ZX4 is that it is designed to be uncomplicated and easy to look after. The trend of other machinery becoming complicated has led to a shortage of good technicians that can look after them. It doesn’t matter how many service technicians a dealer has if they are not able to deal with complex technology that needs a lot of support from the manufacturer or people with very specialised skills. The cost of looking after very complicated machines once out of warranty is a factor frequently overlooked by buyers of this kind of technology. There is no long list of freelance service technicians operating in the market that can be hired at competitive prices to keep the cost down. Stuga have their entire operation and back-up based here in this country with trained staff ready to react quickly when issues occur. This is backed-up by a comprehensive service contract system that is paid monthly and works very well offering including ultra-fast response times.
With an eye to technology Stuga sawing & machining centers have been supplied with internet enabled diagnostics and onboard camera systems for the last six years creating an exciting customer experience when things go wrong, which will occasionally. Key to this kind of support is also to have good technical people in place at all times who can interpret these on-board systems and very often have the fabricator back in production without a service visit. The service contract also provides for preventive maintenance utilising a predetermined schedule backed up with free emergency break-down provisions on a fast response basis. It’s no good having a high output ZX4-MK5 if you can’t get high output service to go with it and Stuga score highly in this respect.