Sternfenster has just commissioned its new Schirmer cutting and machining centre that forms an integral part of its PVC-U fabrication line, which will reduce lead times and improve product quality.
This £800K investment is part of a wider capital expenditure by the Lincoln-based fabricator that will result in efficiencies across all aspects of the business, including IGU manufacture, window and door production, cutting edge IT systems, and transportation.
The Schirmer cutting and machining centre is designed with efficiency in mind. A high-speed gripper transports the full-length profiles – or re-useable off-cuts – through the machine with vastly improved accuracy, and a six-axis tooling module performs all necessary routing in a single pass. A three-axis milling unit allows Sternfenster to end-mill the profile online – rather than as a separate process – again improving accuracy, speeding up production, and reducing damage to profiles thanks to reduced handling.
“We are all excited with our new Schirmer line,” Sales Director Nathan Court said. “Our key strategy in recent years has been all about putting our customers in control of their window and door supply, and this machine is a vital part of that.
“It makes three key improvements: volume, speed and accuracy.
“This new cutting and machining centre can handle many more profiles in a shift, which means that if we get a spike in demand, then lead times aren’t going to be pushed out. And it is exceptionally quick, so it allows us to offer high-end products with industry-beating lead times, allowing our customers to remain competitive in a tough marketplace.
“We’ve also built an enviable reputation for supplying beautiful PVC-U windows – especially the flush, Graf-welded heritage SyleLine Windows – and this new Schirmer line will help us maintain, and build upon, that quality.”
Sternfenster is supporting the machinery investment with a corresponding investment in its IT systems. Central to this strategy is Sternfenster’s EasyAdmin system, which allows businesses to produce professional quotes very quickly for homeowners. It also allows window installation companies to have complete oversight of their profit and loss. This information is updated daily and allows business owners to see the health of their accounts in real time.
“More than 50% of our orders now come to us via EasyAdmin, and we are in the process of upgrading the software so that will integrate more closely with our other IT services,” Nathan said, “as well as giving them more control over their operations, saving them money in the process.
“It will also be cloud-based, which will give our customers more freedom than ever before to manage their projects.”
Other new machinery due for delivery in the next two years are: a new £40,000 Atlantic six-brush vertical glass washer; a new £40,000 glass cutting table; a new £1m 42m glass line; and a new £1.5m PVC-U welding and cleaning line.
Last year, Sternfenster also added four new lorries to its fleet last year, representing an investment of £480K.
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