Timber construction

Flexibility, timeliness and efficiency are the backbone of Hubert Schmid

The German Group has a new SCM CNC machining centre for timber construction

In the wealthy, industrious region of Allgäu in southern Bavaria, between the important centres of Kempten and Munich, the Hubert Schmid group is of huge economic relevance with its different activities in the field of timber, cement and metal construction as well as recycling systems for sustainable energy.Its vast production area is like a small city where the most varying technologies are located in separate units and warehouses.Our reportage focuses principally on the Zimmerei-Holzbau Schmid which deals with timber constructions and uses SCM's most recently developed machining centre: oikos x.

The typical structure of multi-functional organisations with premises in German speaking regions translates into an ability to meet different demands to be completed with the utmost flexibility, timeliness and efficiency.

"The Hubert Schmid group was established in 1969 by Luise and Hubert Schmid - explains the managing director, Florian Schmidt - while the timber carpentry work was launched in 1989 and, after an initial transfer to Röntgenring in 1997, in its own warehouse, the company transferred to its current headquarters in 2001. The first automatic machine for blockboard beams was put to work in 1991. Our work spans the full length of the entire timber construction industry: residential buildings, even across several floors, public buildings, warehouses, bridges, special projects and third-party processing".
"Our work - continues Christian Hebisch, a colleague of Florian Schmid - is to process “KVH/BSH type” solid wood and blockboard beams to create timber structures for various applications such as trusses, roofs, lofts and special pieces for individual projects such as bridges and industrial warehouses.

From a project point of view, our technical department uses CAD-CAM design systems and, since 1991, the software has been kept up-to-date in line with industry standards. Even with automatic machines, we have continually updated our technology right up to this SCM plant, oikos x, capable of working on pieces up to 1250 mm in useful length".
"It is precisely the working width, the excellent flexibility guaranteed by oikos X, which can even work on extremely short pieces, and the price-performance ratio which have been the determining factors in the investment" points out Florian Schmid.
"Oikos x - confirms Hebisch - allows us to carry out all the required work ,in other words, longitudinal and transversal cuts, including optimisation operations on beams and the creation of modular elements from unfinished panels using nesting technology. We do all kinds of milling, drilling, straight and tilting, in every size and variation you can imagine, as well as special solutions; indeed, the more complex the piece, the better oikos x performs thanks to its precision and operating speed".

The person working directly on the machining centre, the Zimmermeister Werner Hämmerle, adds: "We were looking to working pieces up to 21 metres and the assistance and service received from SCM's technical support team has been, and continues to be, highly efficient in meeting our specific demands".
Luciano Tagliaferri, SCM's product area manager, outlines oikos x's most state of the art features: "This is an automatic load and unload machining centre; the maximum sizes of the pieces are 21 metres in length in this installation, generally up to 19 metres, 1250 millimetres wide and 300 millimetres thick. We have the opportunity to work pieces with a minimum length of 250 millimetres, 20 millimetres thick and 50 millimetres wide. So, we move from pieces that are relatively large to pieces that are very small to cover most applications in timber constructions".
Oikos x works on six sides of the piece and ensures every form of processing, with eighteen tools always at the ready and automatic tool change, while the chain saw and mortise can be used as extra systems to work on 1250 millimetre elements and create mortises on the beams for joints and hardware insertion.

The machine is fitted with a laser probe to increase accuracy in the case of dovetail joints and also with a marker, directly fitted on the A axis where the electro-spindle moves, so that the passage from laser to marker and vice versa is very fast.
The system offers automatic lubrication of the linear guides and highly accurate mechanics that do not require a great deal of maintenance by the operator.
It is worth pointing out that the milling head structure is symmetrical and means the head and tail of the piece can be worked in the same overhang conditions; the latest kind of clamps secure and position the pieces up to 4 tons with maximum accuracy and speed.
In this configuration, the loading and unloading roller conveyors have roller supports to make the loading and unloading operations easier and prevent damage on the lower surface of the piece.
The operator can monitor the plant thanks to both the wide windows in the cabin and four video cameras positioned above the CNC which provide full vision of the process: loading, unloading and internal processing area. The loading system is equipped with resting supports at the front of the motorised chains to aid the operator when preparing the pieces.

It is a compact machine that is 2.4 metres wide in the piece processing area and the commands console has been positioned near the machine so that in this case, the operator can make changes to the programs arriving via BTL file elaborated by SCM's Maestro beam&wall software. It is possible to generate work programs for the CNC thanks to the automatic elaboration of the BTL project files and manage the simulations, optimisations of waste, tool nesting work and operator interface data to manage the entire process.

Lastly, thanks to experience and collaboration acquired with the more sophisticated clients from central Europe, SCM continues to update the software providing its clients with a wide range of functions to satisfy the most complex processing requirements.

Credits: Pietro Ferrari for Struttura Legno

Hubert Schmid