In 1996 Masterwood, a company which has always been heavily involved in the solid timber industry, decided to develop software for staircase production, one of the few products that required dedicated software for CNC production.
Masterwood’s original stair software was produced in conjunction with an Italian company called Kernex. This was a DOS-based package and the company still has a few customers using this in the UK and Ireland today.
To move things into the Windows environment, and to meet the demands of its growing stair customers, a new MasterStair package was developed in 2002, which enabled Masterwood to offer stair customers a low cost total package of CNC machine, software and tooling, all totally compatible, which allowed customers new to CNC to be up and running in the shortest possible time.
Over the next few years, MasterStair developed further to provide customers with more advantages like multi-positioning of workpieces on the machine bed, instant CNC programs from the software in a DXF format to suit all Masterwood machines and to make the machines and software more user friendly.
In 2009, it was decided to find a more versatile stair package that its customers were now asking for, but to develop Masterwood’s own software to this level was going to be too high a cost. After extensive research of the various stair software packages available various meetings were held with StairBiz and a partnership was formed, with StairBiz adapting its own software to supply the formats that Masterwood’s CNC machines best work with.
Masterwood GB director Dave Kennard says: “We decided on StairBiz, after a lot of investigation, for good reasons. A number of our existing customers had already seen the software and said how good it was. There are no yearly licence fees, a policy that Masterwood like to follow, and from our meetings with StairBiz MD, John Dibley, he showed us how extremely versatile and stable the software is.” This new joint adventure is called Masterwood Stair.
Working in partnership
“2017 sees us celebrating our eighth year of partnership. We have been delighted in the way our two companies have come together,” says Masterwood director Dave Kennard.
“It has been beneficial for all our stair customers that we can offer such an outstanding package and know that it fits so well into our one-shop policy. This ensures that we supply a full package and our customers have only one contact for any support or help if and when required. We can only thank the StairBiz and Masterwood staff for making this work so well.”
Masterwood has over 130 customers using its CNC machines with one of its dedicated stair packages, it can safely say it knows what stair customers require.
Its customers can vary from those making the odd stair here and there through to those making over 200 per week. Each of these customers has its own way of producing their stairs, but these variations have all been met by the Masterwood CNC and software.
From its early ventures into the stair market it has been important for Masterwood to not just develop machines for this market, but ensure the software can provide the customer with the quickest design capabilities while still retaining versatility.
In 2016 StairBiz went through a full re-write to ensure it remains in full compatibility with today’s computers. Further developments are always being looked at with customers’ suggestions always taken on board. To add to this Masterwood continues to look at various ideas and ways that the actual machining of stair components can be speeded up to meet today’s shorter delivery times, and make the most of the CNC machines.
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