Tunstall Garden Buildings of Stoke On Trent manufacture a range of  high quality standard and bespoke log cabins, garden buildings and sheds which are sold throughout the UK. This forward thinking company is always looking at ways to add value to its products and offer customers the very latest design features.

As a result they have recently installed a new Centauro NC milling/slotting machine which is giving them the facility  to manufacture doors and bifold doors with high security three point locking systems fitted. As many of the buildings they produce are of the highest quality and used as home offices, summer houses and garden studios providing a high level security is a must.

Owner and Proprietor Mark Jobburn comments: “While we have always fitted good quality locks, we new that many of our customers  want the best possible level of security they can get, and this means fitting a three point locking system to the doors.

"Although we had the individual machines capable of carrying out all the machining operations this involves a lot of manual labour and marking out which is want we want to get away from. We therefore contacted JJ Smith to see if they could offer a suitable machine.”

Following a site visit by Guy Stanley to review Tunstalls production requirements, a new Centauro Alfa NC milling machine was suggested. Not only is the Alfa ideally suited for machining out for three point locking systems, it can also be used for standard mortise locks, hinge recessing, louvre shutter slots, window vent slots etc. After a visit to see a machine in operation a specification was agreed and order placed.

The Alfa, which as standard is fitted with a programmable router head that can work in either the vertical or horizontal, was also specified with the optional ISO 30 pneumatic quick-change tool system, extended Y axis stroke to 400mm and a software upgrade to enable Delcam Artcam software to be used for engraving.

Programming is simple and quick thanks to the industrial Power1000 graphic touch screen control unit incorporating  a library of pre-installed macro templates of various designs of hinges, locks, slots etc.

It also has other features which  include parametric programming (ideal if you are producing different height doors), mirror imaging and the facility to work from either the left hand or right hand fixed stops. The X axis working capacity is 2800mm with the table being equipped with three easily adjustable pneumatic workpiece clamps and two pneumatically activated front positioning stops.

Options include a wider table to allow two jambs to be machined simultaneously side by side, an additional programmable router head to square off rounded hinge recess corners and also to spot drill for the screw holes, office editor software to allow for remote programming on a PC or laptop and also a turntable device to rotate a door.

In addition, it is possible to extend the worktable length that enables stair strings up to 4.2m to be machined. The Alfa is very safe to operate as there is perimeter guarding around the two sides and the rear, while the front loading area is protected by a light safety curtain.

The Alfa has now been installed at Tunstall for a number of months and Mark says: “It really has helped tremendously in our door production, not only are we now able to quickly and easily machine for three point locking systems we can also recess for all our hinges too.

“We can either load a completed door or machine the stiles and frame jambs as individual components. In addition the actual machining accuracy and quality has improved. The other new option the Alfa provides is the engraving which now allows us to offer this facility to our customers if they want us to produce a specific design name board or plaque for their building.  Overall it is proving a very worthwhile investment and one which I am glad to say did not break the bank”.

Guy Stanley adds: “When you see at first hand the buildings that Tunstall manufacture you can not fail to be impressed by the level of detail and quality,  and we are delighted that the Centauro ALFA is helping them to achieve this”.