30 years of Stuga machines
Tom Green founded the original company that would eventually lead to the Stuga machinery business in 1974 and the first automated machine was launched in 1986, a full thirty years ago. The Stuga brand has constantly expanded ever since, leading to the very popular flagship ZX4 sawing & machining center that sells so well in 2016 with an order book well into 2017. Stuga also build the lower output ZX3 and the compact AutoFlow-2.
The first Stuga machine was a three axis CNC router which is still in use all over the world. Originally built for machining aluminium the Routermaster as it became known went on to become a popular door router for uPVC doors until automated sawing & machining centers became more popular. The resurgence of aluminium in recent years has seen the Routermaster return to become popular for this material once again. A change to Microsoft Windows as the front end interface also created more interest.
Following on from the router came the Autocut automated saw. Still popular as a profile cutting machine with high output the Autocut has been copied by a couple of Italian companies due to its success. There is little point for fabricators to use a double-mitre saw for cutting window and door frames when the Autocut does it so much more efficiently with accuracy and speed.
Next came the rotary tooling system in a simplistic form for automated water-slotting quickly followed by a much larger system known as the Multihead which was able to prep frame and sash. Having multiple tooling heads meant the machine was flexible for the more complex systems evolving in the UK market where multiple profiles and preps were required.
Around the Millennium interest in the uPVC fabrication market was turning towards automated sawing and machining but the only machines available at the time were built in Germany, were massive in construction and very expensive. These machines were also clearly designed for the simpler tilt & turn windows seen on the continent and needed to be adapted to British windows. Seeing an opportunity Stuga quickly combined the technologies of the Mutlihead system and the Autocut to create the ‘Flowline’ sawing & machining center. The first Flowline was built in late 1999 and interest was so great that early demonstrations led to orders for another five machines. These first six prototype machines are still in production today.
The natural development of technology means that the Flowline has given way to the ZX3 and ZX4 sawing & machining centers. The ZX3 was the natural progression for the Flowline with the ZX4 being a higher output version with more tooling and other systems onboard. These were followed by the Microline which was eventually replaced with the AuotFlow-2. The Microline and AutoFlow-2 are machines designed with a smaller footprint than normal that fit well into smaller factories or where space is at a premium. These machines are popular with smaller fabricators or as back-up or specials machines for the larger ones.