Ongoing Brexit negotiations have not hampered AV Birch Engineering this year. The demand for specialist timber engineering machinery remains buoyant as manufacturers continue to invest.

A solid 2018 raised expectations, but the first six months of 2019 have exceeded all targets at the Bridgnorth engineering base in Shropshire.

In fact, the Timber Engineering team has been smashing records. A busy workshop is getting customer orders finished each week, and the heavy lifting gear is in constant demand as delivery wagons are loaded to transport orders to customer sites.

Scott Heyes, Timber Engineering Director, is delighted and remains upbeat about the rest of the year – whatever happens with the Brexit negotiations.

He said: “UK manufacturers need to remain positive and bullish. It’s the only way to approach things. The construction industry needs to keep building houses, and they need products supplied on time, on budget and to high standards.

“That’s where our machinery comes in for timber product manufacturers. Our truss, saw and joist machines boost productivity, ensure consistency and remove the reliance on casual labour.

“In fact, operating the kind of machinery we supply can help to raise the bar and improve the range of skills across the manufacturing workforce as personnel are moved from basic manual tasks.”

Popular machinery for timber products

The UK construction industry has changed dramatically in recent years. The ongoing need for quality, affordable housing means that firms must find efficiencies and cost savings.

The timber products being supplied to home builders are evolving constantly. With more being built and assembled off-site, the products need to be ready for fitting and installation when they are delivered to construction sites.

Scott believes the demand for bespoke machinery will continue to rise. He added: “Quality is increasingly important for site managers. When they receive open-web joists and roof trusses they have to be ready to be put in place.

“Having the right lifting equipment in place costs money. Our presses give manufacturers the confidence they need to produce quality products again and again – and to tight deadlines.

“We’re also seeing requests for adapted machinery with new functionality like laser guidance, so that new panels and products can be precision-made before delivery to sites.

“This year we’ve have seen our Magna Truss System increase in popularity because it’s so flexible. Manufacturers can make great use of factory floor space and quickly adapt the press and its pedestals to accommodate multiple truss designs.

“It’s the same with our Uni-Roll. Nearly a dozen units ordered already as joist manufacturers look to meet growing demand from UK house builders.”

UK exports also looking healthy

The interest in timber frame machinery isn’t limited to UK customers. In recent months, enquiries have come in from Finland and Poland.

The rising demand for new housing is global, and uncertainty about future trade and tariffs is no barrier to interested parties. UK-made machinery is still respected and much sought after.

Scott explained: “We’re always looking to expand into new markets. As a business we are keen to sell machinery to customers across Europe, but we also want to back this up with the after sales service we offer UK firms.

“That means partnerships, and recent discussions with potential agents across mainland Europe could see us establish the necessary network of service engineers to provide a first class maintenance and service offering to the manufacturers that use our timber frame equipment.”

“Another positive development is existing customers ordering new machinery while existing and aged units are still running.

“This highlights the longevity of the products we offer, the faith customers place in us, and also the ongoing demand for tools and machinery that delivers the production efficiencies that all successful organisations need to achieve.”

All eyes are now on the second half of 2019. The signs are already positive, no matter what happens when the next Brexit deadline approaches in late October.

For information about AV Birch’s timber engineering machinery, call 01746 714418 or email enq@avbirchengineering.co.uk