“OIKOS” AND KRISTOF VAN DUN: A SUCCESSFUL PARTNERSHIP
Flexibility and extremely high precision are the "pluses" of SCM's 6-axis machining centre and the ones most appreciated by this innovative Belgian company that took on the challenges of new demands from the timber construction market and foresaw the incredible potential of CLT.
Kristof Van Dun and his team use the "oikos" even for a state-of-the-art application: the X-FIX system.
Building and renovating a house means making exact choices and, focusing on environmental sustainability and energy efficiency plays an increasingly important role nowadays. This is why the timber house industry has expanded so much in recent years and an increasing number of companies choose to invest in this market by handling the entire project from start to finish, from planning to the final construction, in the minutest details using the most advanced technologies. The Belgian company Kristof Van Dun bvba, specialising in buildings and elements for timber construction, is one of these: a small, dynamic artisan business with experience spanning back eighteen years in the wood joinery division.
The owner, Kristof Van Dun talks to us about his company and the invaluable partnership with SCM, which led to the recent purchase of the “oikos” 6-axis machining centre dedicated to the machining of structural beams, cross laminated timber panels and insulation panels.
Their work spans from private building work to industrial and commercial work, including both new builds and restoration jobs. The company, therefore, has a very varied clientele which includes private individuals, large construction companies, public bodies as well as designers and architects.
Its clientele is mostly mid-high level: "We are the ideal partner for those looking for a top quality construction, irrespective of the their spending power" explains Van Dun. The added value most appreciated by those who choose to contact this company lies in its capacity to provide a turnkey service, from planning to delivery. A service that starts with listening carefully to customer demands. "We start by examining their point of view: what are they looking for and what is the most important thing for them? Using these details, we can formulate a customised proposal and offer the customer a number of alternatives".
The possibility of being able to rely on top quality technological software and systems solutions, is also key when dealing with the customer. "We use Cadwork software when designing as it communicates perfectly with the SCM Maestro beam&wall" to create programs for the numerical control machining centre capable of processing those materials most commonly requested in the current market, such as CLT. This is why a visit to the Kristof Van Dun production plant can make all the difference.
Timber constructions have been the core business of this company for more than fifteen years and, in light of this long-standing experience, Kristof Van Dun's team can advise customers which of the trendiest materials are the most efficient.
"CLT, for example, has all the characteristics for becoming the material of the future thanks to a number of advantages such as fast construction times, ecological imprint, fire-proof safety, lighter in weight compared to more traditional materials and the freedom to design. Many of our investments in technology and human resources have stemmed from this awareness" the Belgian businessman points out.
Up until recently, Kristof Van Dun relied on third parties to supply the architectural elements in CLT, but with an increase in demand, the company took the decision to "take a leap" and buy its own machining centre specialising precisely in the machining of this material.
"We aim to offer the perfect product, using processes that are as flexible as possible. Customer demands can vary right up to the final stages of delivery so it is essential that we can guarantee a direct control of the entire production flow. An added value that increases trust both from private individuals as well as designers.
The investment made by Kristof Van Dun to be able to meet current market demands is represented in the purchase of a new machining centre, new software, services for scrap recovery, as well as the construction of a new plant with more space providing optimal production flow. From here, the recent transfer to the new plant in Turnhout, in the province of Antwerp.
The machining centre, in particular, had to satisfy precise requirements and prove ideal for machining not only beams but above all CLT panels. After careful analysis of a number of international suppliers, the choice fell to SCM and "oikos", Its guaranteed high flexibility and precision combine perfectly with our philosophy" explains the businessman.
The efficient consulting service offered by the SCM team also made the difference when we chose "oikos". "Initial contact with the local product area manager allowed us to gain an in-depth insight into every detail of this model. So, we came to Italy to visit the SCM plant in Sinalunga (SI), production point of reference for machining centres specifically for timber construction and to discover the "oikos" for ourselves at one of SCM's customer plants where it was already being successfully used to its full potential. We were very impressed by the advantages that the company owner pointed out to us and he underlined on several occasions the precision and finishing capacity that only "oikos" has managed to achieve. Each element always adapts perfectly and there is no need for manual corrections at the assembly stage.
Equally important was the opportunity to participate in training courses with SCM experts at the delivery and start-up stage for an optimal usage of the machine.
Flexibility and extremely high precision are the most appreciated "bonuses" of this machining centre which Kristof Van Dun has been using to its maximum potential for about a year now. The customer adds that the connection with the CAD/CAM software, which was part of the package, was easy and he was also very impressed with the level and speed of the technical support given by the SCM team.
The Kristof Van Dun company also used the “oikos” for an unusual, innovative application, the X-FIX connection system, designed by the Austrian company owned by Mr Schilcher. "After sending the stability calculations needed along with some samples, we carried out a number of tests that confirmed the incredible advantages of this system" confirms Van Dun.
"This technique allows us to reduce all material waste to a bare minimum and limit the size and weight of the elements, thus increasing considerably the transport and handling options in the case of large sized wall and flooring elements. This system also allows us to offer a number of other options when designing a building. Architects, in particular, are pleasantly surprised when we tell them about this technique which, among other things, does not have a significant impact on the end cost".
Van Dun is in no doubt: "We are extremely satisfied with the precision and machining method of the X-FIX connections although this can only be achieved if the milling is done with maximum precision, as is the case with the "oikos".