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World Premiere at the WEINMANN Inhouse Show

Timber construction enterprises with a craftsman’s background as well as an international audience visited the “WEINMANN-Treff” in St. Johann.

There wasn’t much space left at this year’s "WEINMANN-Treff", the annual in-house exhibition of the woodworking machine manufacturer. As in the previous years, the event took place in the assembly hall in St. Johann-Lonsingen (Swabian Alb, near the town Reutlingen), completed by small stands of 20 co-exhibitors and by lectures, held in a conference room. This time (HOMAG subsidiary) WEINMANN had its focus on timber construction companies with a craftsman’s background. About 250 guests were counted on the two in-house trade fair days (17th and 18th of November). They didn’t just come from German-speaking countries, but also from Northern Europe and the Baltic States, from Poland and from the U.K. Especially in this market, timber construction is beginning to increase noticeably after a phase of stagnation, reports Managing Director Hansbert Ott.

The participation in this year’s in-house exhibition was like a mirror of the economic situation in the field timber construction. Many entrepreneurs wanted to catch up on how to make their own production more efficient. Others had already placed their orders. The large orders for production lines of two German industrial timber manufacturers (Baufritz and Bien-Zenker) were in their final assembly during the “Treff”.
That’s why the space conditions in the assembly hall of the manufacturer were a little tighter than usual.
For example, an automatic frame work station, fed by a six-axis robot (built by HOMAG Automation) was shown. This plant will be installed in the village Schlüchtern during Christmas time. From January it will allow for a production of 700 prefabricated houses per shift and year. Several large manufacturers have used the favor of the hour (favorable interest rates, high demand for housing space, lack of low-priced specialists in rural areas) in order to replace their technically outdated production facilities with state-of-the-art, more efficient machinery with a higher level of automation, said WEINMANN managing director Hansbert Ott .
The requirements for the plants have changed within the past 20 years. The standard wall heights have grown from 2.80 m to 3.20 m, and larger elements need to be transported by trucks. Nevertheless, there was, of course, enough space left for the demonstration of the two WEINMANN machines that are particularly important for the handcraft-oriented joinery and timber house construction: the "WBS 140" and the "WBZ 160".
During the WEINMANN-Treff, Hansbert Ott emphasized the machine manufacturer’s intention not to neglect the wide segment of numerous handicraft companies that do not manufacture in an industrial manner. On the contrary, it is planned to expand the product range next year and add some low-price segments that are very interesting for carpenters. For many customers the name WEINMANN may be associated with an industrial supplier, which is indeed the case, but this is only half of the truth. That’s why WEINMANN plans to present a so-called carpenter’s bridge before the start of the LIGNA trade fair.

This clearly lighter, simpler version of the multi-function bridge (which is too expensive for smaller timber construction companies) is to serve the large market of the enterprises in the middle and lower parts of the pyramid of timber construction companies. Carpenters and joinery centers will be able to enter the element construction market at an interesting price/performance ratio with that bridge (“WMS 060”), which is equipped with two fastening devices (for nailing and clamping) and can carry out all important machining steps. At the time of the WEINMANN-Treff, however, that bridge was only half-finished.
One more innovation that aroused great attention at the WEINMANN Treff was the blow-in plate for loose insulation material (pulp, wood fiber or mineral wool) ensuring constant, dust-free, automated and, above all, documentable filling of frame work compartments. This plate was shown as a ("Blowtec") attachment unit on a "WMS 150" multifunction bridge, which gets delivered to a customer in Blumberg (near Donaueschingen). In addition to the classical element production work (fastening and machining of the sheathing), the same installation can be used for the application of the insulation material, which saves space in the production hall. The facility can be viewed from the end of March at the customer's premises.
What’s very popular today for in-house exhibitions is the presentation of professional experience from colleagues to colleagues. Hans Nehr, one of the two owners of Nehr Holzbau GbR in Oberhaid near Bamberg (Franconia), provided such a report in Lonsingen. Nehr talked about the economic boom for the field timber construction in his region and also about the positive experience with the machines and the support his company received from WEINMANN, for which he showed his appreciation by lecturing, respectively sharing his know-how. Nehr's comments on the not always quite problem-free development of his own family business (founded in 1905, today 15 employees) from classical carpentry with manual beam processing to modern timber construction and a joining business, probably could give some thought-provoking impulses. At the beginning, in view of the high number of existing carpentry businesses, Nehr gave entrepreneurs the suggestion, to consider in what direction they intent to develop their businesses: Going on with manual joinery as before, maybe even thinking about closing down or only carrying out assembly of bought-in joinery in the future? Or does an entrepreneur want to maintain his independence by running an enterprise with own machines, possibly with the option to perform beam processing for colleagues who do not own a carpentry machine? These had been the alternatives. Before going on or making the investment, it was also necessary to examine the prerequisites, whether a sufficiently large hall and a warehouse were available or could be rent, whether electricity and compressed air were sufficient, and if there was a suction system and a forklift truck available. All this costs a lot of money as well as the acquisition of programs (software) which are connected to the machine production.
Nehr reported vividly on his own prior conditions, errors and conclusions: these were, above all, too small a property in the mixed area, much too close to the residential area. Then there was the construction of a hall that was too small and too low (in 1988), which caused new problems when KVH barware became marketable. Furthermore he told the audience about the time with a self-programmed joining software in combination with a “C 64” and a second-hand bought “P 8”, which, according to his own statement, was kept in operation for too long until it had only scrap value. This was certainly no longer productive, at best instructive.
But there were always enough orders, so Nehr could continue. With the construction of a new hall, adapted for the new (WEINMANN) machines and today's timber material dimensions, things developed positively, because machine technology and digitization had made tremendous steps in the meantime. Nehr's relatively rapid changeover from a "WBS 140" which he had bought from WEINMANN in 2013 to a “WBZ 160” led to some critical questions. After three years, it had become obvious, that the WBS, as an entry-level machine, was too slow for the order situation Nehr was confronted with. Nehr: "You have a lot of work, you want more speed." Moreover, his WBS could easily be sold as a good used machine. This is also the advice of the timber engineer: machines should not remain in operation for more than ten years, because they can still achieve a reasonable price, and in the meantime, the technology will have continued to develop. When asked what to do when purlins of more than 20 cm in height were to be processed, because they could neither be machined directly with the WBS nor with the WBZ, Nehr posed the question: Is this often the case? If so, a larger machine is the solution, if not, one should consider how the problem can be solved differently in a constructive way.

 

Source: Holzzentralblatt, Ausgabe 48/ 02.12.2016

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