On the occasion of the Xylexpo 2018 held in Milan, I visit the TWT stand where Nicola Pedrotti introduces me to a client of TWT, Jaroslav Soukup, who produces wood processing machinery and machines for the production of windows. We ask him how his experience began.

“We started working in 1991 with the Steton company» Jaroslav Soukup explains, «and we were agents of this company in the Czech Republic and in Slovakia. I followed specific courses and I was an expert in machine technology, especially window making machinery. So, in 1999, I designed a few machines for Steton and patented them, and then sold them throughout Europe. Finally, in 2006, I decided to start building machines in my own country”.

Sonia Maritan, Nicola Pedrotti, Mauro Zamberlan e Jaroslav Soukup

Did you conduct a preliminary survey to establish which machines were missing in the windows and doors manufacturing sector?

“It was like a landslide. We also made various machine formats to suit all the various needs and ways in which clients wished to present themselves with their models in terms of type and price ranges so as to work better with private clients and architects. We put in a lot of study, and with TWT we worked on various projects. We are increasingly heading towards a design product: 90% concerns what the installer wants to do, and only 10% the machine”.

The brochure that I have in my hands does not list large lines of products, but it does have a wide range of very compact work stations. This results in very high flexibility and meets the needs of the many different window and door construction methods found from Italy to Poland. Is that true?

“Our motto is based on the inspiration coming from craftsmanship up to medium sized enterprises. Unlike aluminum, wood gives us the chance to work in an artisanal manner”.

So here we are not talking about a numerically defined pool of machines, but of various models that are all customised?

“Each client has his own dimension, and with each one we adopt a specific approach that meets the needs of that client’s production. Today everyone talks about data, about information: we give all of the specifications of a modern production based on traditional production. It is a machine designed for the craftsman, but a 4.0 craftsman! So, on the one hand he does not renounce picking the piece up in his hands, and he wants to see the piece enter and then exit the machine. On the other, though, he wants to have all of the most advanced technology. In actual fact, these are individual machines with advanced technology that produce in a traditional manner, however. The operator does not place the piece on the workbench and waits to see what happens. Here he must intervene in each subsequent phase of the process, but by entering the data in an automatic manner. We try to eliminate human error while keeping the artisanal touch for the small and medium-sized enterprises”.

Today, which is your market of reference?

“The national market, Hungary, Poland and the UK. We are working with companies that serve the local markets in each country. It is true that traditional CNC machines produce windows, but there is so much manipulation to try to achieve a limited number of pieces. For a craftsman, the right type is a machine that is less CNC and more suitable for small serial production lots. I have studied this type of machine to produce windows only, and in the quantities requested. There are no limits in shape, type or quantity that a craftsman’s shop may desire to produce, ranging from the production of just a few special models to the efficiency of standard production. These machines also allow to achieve a very interesting production of lots per day.”

A carpentry shop concentrated into a work center?

“With this machine, the client can perform tenoning and profiling, first of all, then hole drilling, and then a production layout that does everything based on the needs of a specific project adapted to the needs of the manufacturer and of each single machine”.

What role do TWT tools play in your machines?

“Tools play a key role, and the partnership with TWT is fundamental. I follow the clients, I follow the market, and I am certain that TWT follows me. This has been occurring since 2001, because before then my supplier was Zuani”.

What is your opinion with regard to the wood windows market?

“Wood windows will always be popular, because they are different and unique. The wood/aluminum window is the ideal solution, however”.

What do you think about Accoya® wood?

“Accoya® is highly acclaimed in the UK, while in Europe there are problems concerning its distribution due to the excessively high pricing”.

Based on your experience, which types of wood are most commonly used for making windows?

«Fir, Pine, hardwoods such as Oak, Meranti, etc».

Is solid wood still used?

“In some countries, the window is an essential part of the building, while in others it’s a hole to be filled in. The local culture often defines the choice of material”.