Developing specialist timber engineering machinery takes time, skilled personnel and resources. Working alongside a respected manufacturing partner stimulates ideas, boosts innovation and benefits the wider manufacturing sector.

Establishing trusted partnerships is essential in any business. B2B relationships can make or break organisations. Like most things in life, working together and maintaining great communication helps everyone in the longer term.

That’s certainly true in the manufacturing and engineering communities where shared expertise can help develop greater skills and take production equipment to new levels.

That’s exactly what AV Birch Engineering sets out to do when it supports customers across the UK and Europe. One ongoing partnership is much closer to home, and has been central to the development of a range of new additions to the timber machinery offering.

The Shropshire connection

Engineered Timber Solutions (ETS), based near Telford, has supplied engineered timber roof and floor solutions to the construction industry for nearly twenty years. With a large CAD team to convert client building requirements into workable designs, the company offers turnaround on products of 5-7 working days. That’s some going. That means deploying sophisticated technology to work alongside its talented staff.

That’s where AV Birch came in. We’ve developed a range of timber engineering machinery over the years, and the need to increase production, ensure quality and keep operators safe never ends. The equipment we develop is evolving year on year, with our customers’ ever-changing requirements the key driver.

Scott Heyes, Timber Engineering Director at AV Birch, said: “We must be aware of what timber product customers need as the construction industry evolves. What we think is right for some manufacturers may not satisfy others.

“That’s why it’s not only essential to listen to our customers, we actively engage with them as we enhance the machinery we offer now and in the future.

“ETS are just half an hour away in Shropshire. The logistics were right, and the management team were full of ideas. It was exciting listening to what they wanted to achieve as a business.

Flexible timber engineering machinery

Alongside some standard pieces of equipment to support the day-to-day ETS operations, AV Birch helped to develop a number of bespoke roof truss manufacturing machines to suit the need of the ETS production schedule.

Scott added: “Integral to the development was work on the magnetic pedestals that give the truss set-up additional flexibility. With 50 tonnes of downforce, the pedestals ensure that each product is positioned and pressed consistently. That kind of quality helps to set ETS apart from its competition.

“Work on their Uni-Roll joist press saw us deliver one of the first machines that included a pneumatic clamp to ensure beams are manufactured to exact dimensions and no pre-assembly of frames is required.”

Cutting edge laser technology for timber

Add laser guidance to an existing machine and you enjoy greater accuracy and quicker set-up times. Sounds simple, but it’s far from it. It was a challenge AV Birch relished, including liaison with the ETS software partner to ensure that all onsite CAD, admin and configuration systems would work together.

The project revolved around the Uni-Roll 750 timber joist press. A solid machine, capable of fast cycle times with metal webs and plates quickly embedded along the timber beam lengths. Incorporating lasers meant that ETS employees could get components in place with almost 100% accuracy.

The AV Birch Automation division supplied additional know-how, and all parties kept dialogue flowing so that testing could be completed and signed off at every stage. The end result was around 20% improvement on previous production figures.

Chris Williams, Director at E.T.S. Trusses and Joists, sees a number of benefits to working closely with AV Birch. He said: “Being near to the AV Birch base is a real bonus. It’s good to talk face-to-face, especially when you’re developing new machinery solutions together.

“Being able to see equipment evolving, make some changes, and discuss options together is perfect. It was also refreshing to work with Scott’s team who were flexible and receptive to our input throughout the design and build process.

“At times we thought we had arrived at the perfect solution. Then, someone would suggest further improvements. Within weeks we could test the new idea and decide whether to proceed.

“We wanted the right machinery to give us increased production capabilities, more quality and consistency, with safety for our employees always a priority. AV Birch gave us all that and more, and at a pace that suited us.

“The working relationship has worked well for ETS and we now offer our customers more than ever.”

Enhancing the manufacturing facility

Sometimes, a working relationship extends further than just the standard range of products and services. As ETS expanded, requiring more robust floor space to maximise efficiencies offered by new machinery, AV Birch stepped in with steel solutions to allow an existing building to be utilised.

Back at the AV Birch manufacturing facility in Bridgnorth all steel work is designed and fabricated onsite. Plans were exchanged with the ETS team to progress the project, and the close proximity meant that transporting materials for assembly and final construction was straightforward. The newly strengthened floor was soon in place and invisible to the eye; however, it provided the necessary support to allow further heavy-duty timber engineering machinery to be introduced to boost capacity for ETS.

Whether it’s existing machinery being adapted, new ideas developed together, or ad-hoc projects that test the skills of both organisations, having a trusted partner to work with keeps everyone happy.

With timber engineering machinery unique to the industry in situ, ETS continues to offer its customers an outstanding service across a range of timber construction products. They are geared up for the future and always ready to embrace new ideas.

For AV Birch, it’s another example of a valued customer and trusted industry partner that makes the most of the skills, resources and innovative ideas on tap at our Shropshire base.

Here’s to more exciting developments with customers across the timber product sector.

If you’d like to discuss timber engineering machinery ideas with the AV Birch team please get in touch. Call Scott Heyes on 01746 714 418 or email enq@avbirchengineering.co.uk for further details and a demo.