Investment: AutoEye Truss System a system for automatic production of roof trusses. Configuration: pucktable (17 m) with angle transfer and nailing bridge.

Start of business: 1989

Time for investment: 2013

Country: Australia

Reference: Arthur Potter, Owner

Universal Trusses is a unique business within the Australian Capital Territory. Operating for over 25 years, the business in one of the oldest players in Canberra’s truss game.

What was the basis for the investment?

“We made the investment for several reasons. We wanted to automate the production of trusses more, achieve higher quality and get the opportunity to build complex trusses. Also traditional equipment requires skilled and motivated workers and this is difficult to find.
We had an issue with worker compensation insurance and this cost a lot of money so we wanted to avoid this in the future. The issue was caused by people walking up and down on a jig table 8 hours per day.
The AutoEye is the future of building trusses, in the future all will build with this system no one will build with the old systems it is just a matter of time before they change.”

In general what do you think about the system?

“It works. We can build complex trusses easily. We now can control the production and control the labor. Before on the old systems we used when building complex trusses we did not know how long it would take. This could cause red projects or lock the production for an uncertain amount of time which could create late orders and angry customers. Now we know that a joint will be processed every 10-11 seconds, this gives control. We have significant lower production costs with this system combined with much lower education cost. Before it took approximately 6 months to get an operator skilled enough to produce trusses with the right quality and productivity level. Now they can do this from day 1, even I can build trusses. Also cost for labor control has reduced a lot. Today we run 2 shifts without problems the production manager does not need to be on site the quality level and productivity level is on the same top level anyway. Before it was impossible to work 2 shifts because it was very difficult to find skilled and motivated workers enough. Before many of the workers we hired were not motivated or skilled enough so we needed to sack them after a period of time which also created a lot of costs. Today the workers wants to work with this system, it is true!! We are not reliant to skilled workers.”

What are the main benefits of the system?

“High automation and output level combined with high consistent quality. Also the ability to control the labor cost through the project. Pucks + laser give a high quality level. C-presses can give good quality but you are reliant to the operators being skilled enough and you need to control the workers and constantly check that they actually run the c-press fast enough and are motivated to set-up the system in the correct way.”

What do you think about the service level from Randek and Bliss and Reels?

“It is good. The only issue is the time difference between Australia and Sweden for issues that needs to be solved from Sweden. We have not had any service problem. You can tell that the machine has been built really well, it is impressive.”

How would you compare this system with traditional systems?

“Arm jig (c-press system) – this system is reliant how fast the person actually walks around the system with the c-press so you need to control them. It takes several months to educate the staff which is costly and you invest a lot in the personnel. Also the set-up time is very demanding and the quality output is an issue. The quality is dependent on how accurate you set-up the system.”

“Box-jig – It improves the output compared to c-presses but it is very limited what type of trusses you can actually build.”

“Table press – A big issue is that you need to walk up and down on the tables the workers do not want to do this and it can create a lot of costs through worker compensation insurances. The quality is an issue; you need to slide the nail plates under the wood members which is difficult to do with high accuracy. The system is also dependent on the workers to hammer the corners of the nail plates correctly so they do not slide when entering the roller press.”

“The Randek automatic truss production system solves all this!”

What do you think about the AutoEye software?

“It is easy to set-up the trusses and the offline planning is a good feature. The software is easy to learn. It works. The only feature we miss, that is under development, is higher flexibility to park the nailing bridge in different locations during the production.”

How would you change the system if you were to invest today?

“I would invest in more table units making the table longer giving us opportunity to have a double table system for more trusses, today it is only possible if we do 2 short trusses as the pucktable is in total 17 m long. We would not invest in the nailing bridge. We get a higher output when not using the bridge when producing low trusses in height and we do that often. For our type of production it only makes sense to use the nailing bridge when running a 2 table set-up which we rarely can due to limitation in length of pucktable we chose to invest in.”

Anyhing more you would like to add?

“We are very pleased with the overall quality with the system.”