Founded in 1989, Stairways Midlands has built a strong reputation for excellent customer service and high-quality timber staircases and crafted doors.
Working closely with architects, housebuilders, and contractors, Stairways offers both mass-produced and bespoke services from multiple locations within the UK. The company is a value-driven, reputable firm which offers continuous support to its clients from specification through to guidance with installation and maintenance.
Walsall-based production manager, Lyndon, was looking to reduce operating error and create a more efficient workflow for mass-produced work, with a view to allowing more time to focus on its bespoke services. Health and safety was a huge factor for the team, as operatives often manually cut stock timber as small as 100mm, requiring high levels of operator skill and time. “Automatic saws reduce that human element of mistakes by cutting set lengths”, explains Lyndon.
Following a visit from Daltons Wadkin, the decision was made to invest in two Salvador automatic crosscut saws. Firstly, the Salvador SuperPush 250, offering high volume 90o crosscutting with an automatic chain infeed loading system. Secondly, the Salvador SuperAngle 600 providing flexibility for straight and angled crosscutting up to +/-70°.
Both machines reduce operator skill level, reduce labour by over 50%, and provide a 100% safe working operation. Thanks to the optimisation software and defecting facility, included as standard, yield is increased while minimising waste and requiring minimal operator input – the perfect choice for Stairways Midlands’ first automatic crosscut.
How easy did the operatives adapt to the Salvador? Lyndon relayed initial concerns from his team over introducing the new technology, however since the February install feedback has been very positive.
“They’ve all adapted well, it’s so easy to use. Before it would have been a normal radial arm crosscut saw, so measuring lengths of timber, cutting it, and depending on how many they would have to count them through. Now with the automated saws it’s all batched on the lengths, the machine will count so there’s no worrying how many has been cut – it will generate what we want, it’s much simpler.”
Stairways Midlands is no stranger to the evolution in woodworking technology, which undoubtedly has helped set the firm apart in the industry, having already owned multiple CNC machines – although for some, the transition from manual and traditional wood-sawing methods, to automatic and semi-automatic machines such as the Salvador, can be a daunting prospect.
Lyndon explains that with the new Salvador saws: “It’s very, very simple. It is a one-man job to simply copy-and-paste the data from a spreadsheet and send it to the machine, whilst one or two operatives can load and unload the timber. “For Stairways Midlands this has meant allocation of staff on higher priority projects, such as their bespoke range, “as a business we’re seeing a good return, he says.”
Overall the benefits seem to have appeared almost immediately for Stairways Midlands: “it has deskilled the job, it’s five times as fast, and there are no errors.”
Lyndon went on to report that in one eight-hour day, the Salvador Superpush 250 could produce the same amount of work as multiple operators working over four days. Impressive statistics considering the machine is not yet running at full capacity.
It will be intriguing to see how Stairways Midlands develops and fulfils its goal of becoming the UK’s leading staircase and door manufacturer, as it steps forward with not one, but two Salvador automatic crosscut saws.
Finally, would Stairways Midlands recommend Daltons Wadkin for Salvador crosscut saws? Here’s Lyndon’s response: “Installation with Sam and Doug was fantastic – well communicated,. They came in as a team and were efficient. Everything from the initial order processing, to installation, to the support after, they’ve been fantastic. Good machine, good customer service, and that’s what it’s all about.”
For more information on the Salvador range of automatic crosscuts contact sole distributors for the UK and Ireland, Daltons Wadkin.