In Groß Gerungs, the family-run company Formholz operates a classic sawmill for construction timber with an annual cutting volume of nearly 30,000 m³. At the headquarters in Wiesenfeld, the Waldviertel-based company processes a large part of the cut spruce and pine wood into numerous different semi-finished products. “With our big warehouse and countless special products, we are a supplier not only for prefabricated house manufacturers, merchants and regional carpenters, but also for numerous niche markets,” tells us Johannes Kitzler, who runs the company with his brother Michael and father Alois. In addition to special planing profiles, he also lists boiler-pressure impregnated pine products for the production of noise barriers or floors for trucks as examples.
As a member of the association MH Massivholz Austria, Formholz attaches great importance to producing high-quality construction timber without finger-jointing and glue. “Solid wood is still a popular construction product which offers big visual advantages,” emphasizes Michael Kitzler. In order to be able to improve the construction timber supply of its customers in the future, the company has been considering investing in a joinery machine for several years. “We wanted to increase the vertical range of manufacture in our own company and at the same time offer our customers an even better support. However, we were also afraid of taking work away from carpentry companies,” recalls Michael Kitzler with regard to the concerns, which quickly dissipated, however.
Today, Formholz knows that smaller companies in particular are relieved when they no longer have to do manual machining and can concentrate on other tasks instead.
Specifically, Formholz opted for a K2-Industry joinery machine by Hundegger complete with a construction timber planing system. Additionally, the company invested in a new joinery hall, the roof of which consists mostly of solid wood beams and does not need glulam beams. According to Michael Kitzler, the combination of performance, flexibility and precision was the decisive factor in the purchase. The system can machine scantlings of up to 30 x 65 cm from all sides, with a turret mill and a high-performance unit, among other things, ensuring the necessary performance. The maximum length is 16 meters. The connected planing plant for scantlings of dimensions of up to 30 x 40 cm gives the elements the desired surface quality – and the plant can also be loaded separately.
With the K2-Industry, Hundegger responded to increasingly demanding market requirements. For example, this is the first time that units have been positioned electronically using racks and spindles. According to Hundegger Austria representative Arno Gaggl, the units can be positioned even more precisely and quickly this way. The open circular saw unit, where the residual wood falls down automatically and is transported away by a conveyor belt, also saves a lot of time.
A few months after the startup, the first positive results can be seen at Formholz: “After three days of intensive training in Hawangen and a two-week learning phase, we were not only able to operate the system, but we could also optimize production processes thereby making the most of the log wood lengths and reducing waste. After this period, Hundegger also offered us excellent support via remote maintenance.” Michael Kitzler is particularly pleased with the steadily increasing demand: “More and more customers are recognizing the advantages of contract joinery. This saves them valuable time on the construction site, and we benefit from the higher added value generated from the log wood to the machined construction timber.”
In Zwettl, just a few kilometers away from Formholz, the construction company Georg Fessl also started up a K2-industry joinery machine just a few weeks ago. The timber construction division of the Swietelsky subsidiary covers the entire range of services of modern timber construction and, in addition to classic roof structures and industrial halls, the company also does inner-city attic conversions and residential construction projects.
Managing director René Zinner sees his company as being well-positioned for the coming years thanks to the purchase of K2-Industry: “With this investment, we can move into new dimensions and have fewer employees in machining and more on the construction where we urgently need them. With some large-scale projects, we were often no longer competitive in the past few years.”
Area construction manager Mario Kitzler adds that the final decision was ultimately left to employees who were clearly in favor of a joinery machine. Up until a few weeks ago, over 90% of the wood was machined manually.
Like Formholz, Fessl opted for a K2-industry for construction elements of up to 30 by 65 cm. Additionally, an automatic infeed and wood waste disposal system were installed, which further reduced the workload. According to Zinner, the decision for a Hundegger machine was obvious right from the beginning: “For us, nothing else came into question. Other Swietelsky subsidiaries, which are also part of Swietimber, have had very good experience with this machine.” The brand Swietimber pools the construction group’s timber construction expertise, which has been expanded considerably in recent years.
“Of course, the strategy of our parent company, i.e. to strengthen timber construction, helped us a lot when we made this investment. At the same time, this investment allows us to make an even more valuable contribution to this effort,” says Zinner with regard to synergies.
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