When Multinail realised many of their customers weren’t getting the most out of their linear saw, they engineered a solution. By Warwick Porter
In response to our customers’ production needs, Multinail has been delivering highly specialised and technically advanced Australian-made solutions into the local market for over 40 years. As a company, we’ve led many of the innovations that fabricators now take for granted.
In 2018, we launched the PieceMaker automated linear saw. The Multinail team worked closely with fabricators across the country, demonstrating the productivity benefits from adding an automated linear saw to their manufacturing operation.
We’ve had a strong take up, and over time we’ve received a lot of customer feedback. One comment we heard from multiple fabricators was that they wanted more speed, which seemed a strange request as we know the saw is fast and most truss plants can’t press enough trusses to keep up with the saw when it’s running flat out.
We decided to take a deep dive into the saw’s data and discovered to our surprise that most plants were only running the PieceMaker for about three to four hours a day. Talking with the fabricators, they knew the saw was being underutilised, but explained that they were running at their internal limits and the operator staff were at their full capacity with work.
Understanding the situation required even more in-depth investigation across a wider range of truss plants. Our research revealed this was a common issue throughout the industry: many fabricators were unable to keep an automated linear saw loaded and running because of commonplace issues within both staffing and factory logistics. The most frequent ones were:
- The machine is stopped while the operator walks around the yard looking for a piece of timber;
- The loading of the machine is stopped while the operator looks for trolleys;
- The machine is stopped while the stock pack in front of the saw is swapped;
- The machine is stopped because the people on the outfeed are saying they can’t keep up;
- The machine is stopped because the operator is distracted by other people in the factory.
While each of these individually is understandable, the impact is significant when you consider that a machine like the PieceMaker is a big financial investment and fabricator plants need to run it as much as possible if they want a return on that investment.
We decided this was a situation ripe for innovation and our working knowledge of the PieceMaker meant we were in the best position to deliver a seamless, Australian-made solution.
In 2020, we launched a development project involving a worldwide team of engineers and technologists with the sole aim of providing truss plants with an automated solution to ensure the PieceMaker Linear Saw was able to operate at maximum efficiency. What followed was an extensive research and testing program and in 2021 we welcomed yet another Multinail innovation with the arrival of PieceGiver.
The PieceGiver replaces the operator at the head of the linear saw. Like a human operator, it picks up the timber and feeds it into the machine. Unlike humans, it doesn’t need a break, or to go hunting for timber around the factory, or to have a chat with a colleague; it just keeps loading the machine.
In our trials, the PieceGiver has delivered a game-changing transformation in the efficiency and productivity of the PieceMaker saw. Because the timber is directly loaded on the infeed deck, the saw can just keep cutting. Most of the excuses given for stopping disappear, and the saw itself can deliver fully on its production promises to the owner. And the people freed up from feeding the saw are now available to help on the outfeed, so that problem is also solved.
Customer feedback from early adopters of the PieceGiver has told us that one of the more surprising advantages of the machine is the comfort it gives the schedulers. They are now able to more confidently say to a builder “you can have your job when you need it” because they know the saw will have cut the job ready for pressing.
Fortruss Frame & Truss was one of those businesses. “We absolutely love the PieceGiver. It has made a huge difference to our cutting productivity,” says owner Ashley Young. “I am convinced that once people are shown how the PieceGiver works, Multinail will not sell another PieceMaker linear saw without a PieceGiver.”
The hard business equation is that sawing is considered an overhead and you don’t make any money until you press a truss. The Multinail PieceGiver combines with the PieceMaker linear saw to make this necessary part of your truss plant as trouble-free, efficient and simple as possible, allowing you to concentrate on assembling trusses and making money.
We started the process of developing this machine with a research project that gave us a list of problems getting in the way for truss makers, now we’ve had it running in enough plants to be able to construct a similar list of solutions the PieceGiver delivers.
- You reduce labour costs;
- You get control of your cutting. You know the capacity of your saw and with automated feed you know it’s going to cut at that capacity so you can plan your deliveries with confidence;
- If you need more production, the PieceGiver will dramatically improve your output. It will give you an extra 3-4 hours per day of cutting when compared to a standard truss plant;
- If you don’t need more cutting you can deploy the outfeed staff to making trusses once they’re finished cutting. They’ll now cut flat out rather than having the process broken up into a series of smaller tasks.
The result of all these solutions translates directly into profit for both you and your builder clients. Every single day you will be able to cut and press more, which leads to a quick payoff on investment and more options when it comes to future expansion. And in this time of extreme demands on so many builders, it will help your clients’ businesses to flourish, too.
We know that truss plants can be difficult to run. Let’s take cutting off your list of problems and help you become more efficient and profitable.
For more information, contact Warwick Porter, National Machinery Sales Manager at Multinail Australia via email@example.com
Image: The PieceGiver in operation, automatically delivering timber to the PieceMaker saw on this line and helping the saw and the truss plant operate at maximum efficiency.