With an ambitious plan to increase turnover to £10m in the next five years, fibreglass application specialist Sui Generis has invested in a second Striebig Control vertical panel saw from leading woodworking machinery supplier TM Machinery, as it looks to increase production and simplify its manufacturing processes. 

“In recent months, we’ve had to up production massively to keep up with demand,” begins Mark Quinn, deputy production manager at Sui Generis. “It’s a great position to be in, but it did mean we were relying on a single vertical panel saw to work on every project we took on. We knew this could lead to a potential bottleneck in production and, in the long-run, affect the amount of jobs we could realistically take on.” 

The new Control model comes with a wealth of features to speed up production, including a laser indicator for horizontal cuts

For more than six years, the Colchester-based manufacturer had been using a Striebig Control vertical panel saw, which had proven to be an accurate and reliable workhorse. “We work our machines hard,” says Mark, “it’s the nature of the materials we use – but our original Striebig continues to work effectively. As well as cutting 15mm MFC, ply and MDF sheets, we cut a lot of 4m GRP panels and 50mm-thick GRP grates to size, which are then used to create anti-slip flooring, floor safety products, industrial gratings and mouldings. 

“Our products are extremely hardwearing. All our anti-slip products incorporate a quartz-gritted surface, and our premium range incorporates ironised flint. It’s not an easy material to cut, but as long as we keep our blades sharp and get them re-tipped regularly, the Striebig makes light work of everything we throw as it. That’s why we knew a second Striebig would be a sound investment when the time was right.”  

With the first Control working effectively, a second identical machine seemed like the best option for the growing business. While the new Control model featured the same 5168 frame, 4300 x 1680mm cutting size and powerful 5.5kW motor, it also came with a wealth of new digital features designed to optimise the cutting process.

As well as cutting 15mm MFC, plywood and MDF sheets, Sui Generis cuts a lot of 4m GRP panels and 50mm-thick GRP grates to size

As well as boasting Striebig’s impressive accuracy and Swiss build quality, the new Control included a 12in touchscreen computer with optimal user guidance, a laser indicator for horizontal cuts, a digital measuring system and automatic saw head positioning system as standard. It also benefits from adjustable feed speeds – allowing the user to work on a wide range of materials and thicknesses – built-in panel end recognition, and a constant return speed of the saw unit for ease of use. 

“Our first Control had a calibrated measuring system, but it was manual,” explains Mark. “The new Control certainly came with a lot of bangs for the bucks, and the new software has made a huge difference to production times because all the manual setting-up has been taken away. Now, because the machine is already calibrated, you simply tap in the dimensions and away you go.”

Its intelligent cutting technology has also reduced waste and simplified larger jobs. Mark says: “If we’re cutting a floor sheet and we have to get a certain amount out of each sheet, the software will tell us how it needs to be cut. It couldn’t be easier. It saves on material waste and time. 

“The same can be said for the laser level, too. It’s a great addition to the saw. It makes the cutting process faster and has reduced mistakes thanks to its pinpoint accuracy. The digital measuring system on both axes has also proven particularly useful for one-off cuts.” 

To future-proof the purchase, Mark specified two additional features during the machine’s build – a cutting depth of 100mm (80mm is standard), and an extended feed speed range of 0.1-25 m/min (10-25 m/min is the norm).

All Sui Generis' anti-slip products incorporate a quartz gritted surface which is cut on the Striebig 1

“These were important features for us,” admits Mark. “When cutting stair treads to size, we used to have to trim off the excess material on a chop saw. Now, with an extra 20mm on the blade, it cuts clean first time, speeding up production and reducing handling. The added feed speed also gives us more flexibility to use materials that demand a greater depth of cut, because we can cut at a much slower rate.”

Since the second vertical panel saw has been installed, it has proved an invaluable addition. “We now use it on every anti-slip product we make, and it runs for 10 hours a day, six days a week,” says Mark. 

“Working side by side, the two saws have easily doubled production and, with the help of a grab claw to feed the saw, handling of heavy materials has also been reduced. The saw’s impact on the business means we’re now in a position to look at other ways to streamline our manufacturing facilities.

“I can’t stress how easy TM Machinery is to work with. We stay in regular contact with them and they come and service our machines each year. Keeping our machines running in tip-top shape is extremely important to us. They are experts in their field, so, in our eyes, they are the best people for the job. We certainly wouldn’t hesitate to use them again.”    

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