A PIONEER BACKED BY SCM
At Luriecq, in the Haut-Forez region, in just a matter of years, the Petit carpentry shop has succeeded in establishing a firm position in both the wood and mixed material carpentry sector thanks to its know-how and already consolidated reputation. At the beginning of this decade, the company made a number of investments, but the one that has really allowed it to increase productivity and widen its horizons is its digital command accord 25 fx work centre manufactured by SCM.
Menuiserie Petit has been playing a leading role in the local wood industry for over thirty years. The company satisfies the requests of local institutions, companies and private customers by offering reliable, added value carpentry services. “Today, about 40% of our clientele is made up of private customers, while the rest consists mainly of building constructors and tenders,” explains Mauro Gramolelli, the current co-director of the Petit carpentry shop.
In 2004 Mauro took the family company back over, together with his wife, and in 2011 they moved to workshops built in Luriecq. Located beside the provincial highway, the company sign hangs proudly on a wooden facade. “Our location has been a significant benefit as it has increased our visibility and allowed us to increase our turnover,” comments Mauro Gramolelli. Menuiserie Petit was previously run by Mauro’s wife’s father and specialised in installation with a carpenter specifically employed at the factory to create special pieces.
In this period the company installed a huge number of windows in the Saint-Etienne area for both private and social landlords. Mauro Gramolelli himself worked with his father-in-law for fifteen years as an installer, and when the older man retired in 2010, Mauro took over the company and launched it in a new direction by intensifying manufacturing operations. “We began with classic machines for producing door and door frames. Then, as our turnover increased, we moved onto making windows in 2012, and had them AEV (Air, Wind and Water) certified through a series of tests carried out at the Céribois wood industry resource centre. Currently, approximately 30% of the carpentry shop’s turnover comes from window construction. 60% of this originates from building site installation activities and about 40% from private customers.
“We make about 300 windows a year and we are skilled in all kinds of installation, both for new builds and renovations that constitute a significant niche in our core business,” explains Mauro Gramolelli. The accord 25 fx, a high precision, multipurpose tool. In 2016 Menuiserie Petit decided to invest in a 5-axis digital command work centre made by the Italian manufacturer, SCM, whose French branch is in Vourles (69), about sixty kilometres from Luriecq. The machine was delivered at the start of 2017. “We had been thinking of investing in a digital machine for some time,” narrates Mauro Gramolelli. “Then we gradually expanded the factory which gave us the room we needed to install the new work centre.”
“The accord 25 fx work centre offers high performance for a minimum investment,” explains Thierry Nicolet, the man who has been managing SCM Group France for several months now. Specifically designed for SMEs, the Accord 25 FX combines high performance with easy-to-use technology for versatile door, window and stair manufacture in solid wood or panels in wood and non-wood.
With regard to this particular centre, one benefit is its capacity to produce a wide range of products thanks to the considerable size of its working table and the large number of tools that are always available on the machine. 76 MENUISERIE PETIT - FRANCE “We were looking for a genuinely multi-purpose tool rather than a machine designed for mass production,” comments Mauro Gramolelli.
“Thanks to the accord 25 fx, we can produce more, in a more versatile way, which means we can extend our business to the design and construction of stairs, for example. Thanks to DDX software, the entire process is generated upstream, including the hardware and the preparation of the drillholes for the stop plates, which saves precious time during assembly,” he continues. “We wanted to be able to work simultaneously. To be more precise we wanted to be able to produce one element on one side of the machine while preparing a second on the other. Now we can do that, because on the machine’s automated table, each mobile element has its own motor.
In my opinion, digital commands are essential for the future of the woodworking sector, without forgetting that they also allow us to reduce labour costs significantly.” At the same time as the purchase of the work centre, the carpentry shop is also investing in a range of Leuco brand Record tools (a company Thierry Nicolet used to manage).
A month after the installation of the work centre at the company, it was already producing its first windows. Mauro Gramolelli’s only regret is not having enough software training. This is an issue that Thierry Nicolet in no way underestimates. “It is often difficult to find enough qualified personnel to guarantee this kind of training,” he comments. “In fact, the digital revolution means learning new skills that are not always taught in the current education system.”
A finish that truly stands out. Menuiserie Petit proposes profiles from 92 mm with high efficiency triple glass, 68 and 78 mm profiles in wood and 68 mm profiles in a mixture of wood and aluminium. Succeeding in maintaining a cutting edge by using a digitally controlled tool to enhance product quality, efficiency and finish in order to give the product real added value is more important than ever in today’s world. “Currently we face a lot of competition from abroad even in the renovation sector,” admits Mauro. “Today, people who are buying a house for the first time tend to pay more attention to the furniture and in, more general, the interior design of their future home than they do to insulation. That means we are a bit worried about the current cuts in tax credit, as it risks opening up the market to products that are cheaper, but lower quality and less effective in terms of energy-saving. For SMEs, like us, it seems more important to invest in systems that can optimise the thermal performance of our products and the quality of our craftsmanship. If we don’t do that these parts of the market risk being eaten up by the large industrialists.”
In 2013, the Menuiserie Petit invested in a paint booth as well as a Samsoud centralised variable flow aspiration system. “We use the paint booth to apply coatings not only to windows, but also to other smaller sections of our production, like cladding, soundproof panelling and even stairs. “To continue standing out from the crowd and in the wake of what we have already achieved with Céribois in terms of the AEV tests, our next step is to be certified by Procime Up (the important French wooden and wooden-aluminium window trademark for manufacturers, carpenters, installers, builders and private customers launched in Autumn 2017 by Céribois). Our aim is to improve the quality and expertise of the finish on our wooden windows and, in the future, we would also like to be become part of Naboco (another Céribois project that guarantees the long life of coatings on joinery with a professional warranty). In any case,” concludes Mauro, “we already guarantee a high-quality finish- the increased success of our wooden and aluminium windows speaks for itself.”
Text credits: Stéphane Jardin for Le Bois International Photo credits: Le Bois International and Menuiserie Petit