Five years ago, AVC Classic Woodworkers and Eclipse Joinery joined forces to become a leading British manufacturer of wooden windows and staircases. In the wake of a strong focus on its online offer, the company experienced significant growth and as a result, commissioned extraction experts, Dustraction, to create one of its biggest extraction systems to date.
Selling staircases, wooden windows and flatpack windows online to joiners, house builders and end users, the Staffordshire-based business, which now trades under the names Wooden Windows and StairBox, has grown at an impressive speed and moved to a new site that measures just shy of 100,000 sqft. Mark Winter, Managing Director of Wooden Window’s explains, “We knew we needed space to grow our business and to do this, we needed a bigger site and a purpose built extraction system that could run intuitively with our machines, whilst also offering us 100% expansion.”
Dustraction’s approach to the brief impressed Mark immediately. “The Dustraction team were extremely knowledge about extraction and whilst they were not the cheapest on the market, their detailed plan, suggestions and advice went above and beyond the competition. Not only did they understand the job in hand, they also understood us and the importance of future-proofing our business. Whilst they designed the initial concept, they were happy to work with us to find a solution that would be equally as effective today as it would be in years to come.”
The design included the Dustrax 9X Cyclo Filter which, as well as handling a total air volume of 102,706m³/hr, also incorporated an additional spare capacity of 20,000m³/hr for future growth. Manufactured from 3mm thick mild steel sheet, the 0.2 mg/m³ emissions guaranteed by the new installation fell in line with existing European Legislation, and that allowed Dustraction to install a clever return air system. “The introduction of the return air system was Dustraction’s idea. It recycles hot air throughout our site and saves us approximately £20,000 per year on our heating bills.”
“I saw Dustraction as problem solvers,” continues Mark. “Their approach was flexible which, when faced with a growing company, is a necessity. At the beginning of the project, we were operating nine CNC’s but 18 months later, we are now running almost double that number. The design had to accommodate this and even now, as the company continues evolve, Dustraction’s team is on hand to assist in our future plans.”
As well as general cleanliness and well-being on the factory floor and the clever introduction of a return air system, Mark was also keen to tackle vertical waste suction. Mark explains, “With a lot of the staircase machines, you cut overhead so you’re having to suck the waste vertically. We have the capacity to create 150 staircases and 80 windows and doors a day, so we were keen to boost the level of vertical waste suction to accommodate these kind of numbers.” To over come this and to gain maximum output, Dustraction installed extra booster fans above the CNC’s and saws, which offered an effective, long-term solution when faced with increased production. And, when more CNC’s were added to the floor, Dustraction were on hand to extend the extraction system further to cope with the increased air volume needed. Mark adds, “It’s this kind of in-depth understanding and knowledge of the machines and manufacturing techniques we are using that gave us great confidence in the Dustraction team’s abilities and they didn’t disappoint us.”
The system was also designed with fuss-free maintenance in mind. “The cyclo filter is virtually maintenance free, which for a busy team, is exactly what we need. All it requires is the filter bags to be changed every so often,” says Mark. “They are guaranteed for 6,000 hours and for us, this meant we needed to replace them after 2.5 years. We think this is pretty good. Before we introduced the latest CNC machines, we were running the extraction system up to 19 hours a day. We monitor the suction rates carefully so we know when the bags are getting worn. Replacements are then delivered and installed quickly, limiting any downtime. It really is that simple.”
With the recent introduction of two further CNC machines and a workforce fast approaching 100 people, the innovative online manufacturer is already planning its next move. Mark adds, “We’re confident new product lines and continual investment in our facilities will continue to increase production and this will see us needing bigger premises within the next 10 years.
Without a shadow of a doubt, Dustraction will be our go-to extraction company of choice. They are experts in their field and with all equipment supplied though them falling in line with Health & Safety Executive COSHH legislation and ATEX Explosion Regulations, we have complete piece of mind when working with them. We have a great working relationship with the whole team and we hope that next time, our project will be their biggest to date.”