We hear more and more from national press about the difficulty in finding reliable labour and this has been made worse by the result of the referendum from what we are told. Much of the uPVC window and door fabrication industry I deal with tells me 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 twenty years have been automated sawing and machining lines and this is because they dramatically reduce operators and waste whilst 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 & machining center is called the ZX5 and since its launch 18 months ago it has sold well and performed well. Utilising everything good and the great amount learnt from strong sales of the previous ZX4 model Stuga have incorporated new ideas and new technology combined with improvements based on feed-back 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 whilst one waits for the other. Along with a considerable buffer/transfer table this modular approach is far superior to most ‘inline’ sawing & 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 utilising parts built or resourced here in the United Kingdom and is designed by British designers for British profile systems. Stuga has been building sawing centers and machining centers for more than thirty years. To date Stuga has sold fourteen ZX5’s 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 utilised by one of several Stuga technicians who are able to access machines from anywhere to anywhere. There are eight mobile technicians geographically 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 their Norfolk facility where they can see the total care package at work and meet the team behind it.