CONTENTS

TIMBERLAB SOLUTIONS: THE CNC PROCESSING JOURNEY

The construction of Ruby’s overwater restaurant in Abu Dhabi shows the most common structural material is reinforced concrete and features significant curved structural elements.

Auckland-based TimberLab Solutions is Australasia’s largest, most experienced, internationally recognised provider of customised structural engineered timber products. With over 60 years of experience it offers innovative and efficient solutions for anyone working with engineered timber for both local and offshore customers.

After investing in one of the largest and most sophisticated woodworking machines currently available on the market, the company has been seeing further growth. TimberLab’s Weinmann WMP 240 – part of the Homag Group – is over four metres high, nine metres across and running along rails stretching half the length of their factory (approx. 30 m). The company’s 5 axis CNC Gantry, weighing 10 tonnes, means they are able to offer specialist detailing and extremely efficient processing and finishing of complex timber structures. Grant McIntosh, CEO of TimberLab Solutions, spoke to Built Offsite about the company’s historical development and the decision to move into CNC technology

BUILT OFFSITE: TIMBERLAB SOLUTIONS HAS A LONG HISTORY. HOW DID ALL START?
MCINTOSH: We started in 1957 as McIntosh Timber Laminates. My grandfather was a cabinetmaker and decided it would be good to get into laminated timber. In 1958, together with my father they started manufacturing laminated timber beams. We looked at moving the company to another level and joined with another smaller glulam manufacturer in Auckland, called TimberBond Industries, and formed TimberLab Solutions. The company was formed in 2012 with a collaborative merger of these two companies and we are now working with Glulam, Laminated Veneer Lumber and other structural timber products.

The Aquatic Centre in Bold Park, suburb City Beach in Perth
The Aquatic Centre in Bold Park, suburb City Beach in Perth
Weinmann’s WMP 240 at TimberLab is over four metres high, nine metres across and running along rails stretching half the length of their factory.
Weinmann’s WMP 240 at TimberLab is over four metres high, nine metres across and running along rails stretching half the length of their factory.

 

BUILT OFFSITE: TIMBERLAB HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN NUMEROUS TIMBER ENGINEERED PROJECTS ALL OVER THE WORLD. WHAT MAKES THE COMPANY UNIQUE?
MCINTOSH: What makes us a unique is the fact that we offer a solution. We can provide a total package from helping clients out at the early stages of design. We work alongside architects and engineers helping them to find the best solution for their building without changing the actual building.

BUILT OFFSITE: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO INVEST IN CNC TECHNOLOGY?
MCINTOSH: Keeping at the forefront of engineered timber solutions meant that we needed to provide customers and designers with the latest capabilities in developing new and efficient options. Previously we’ve done a lot of our work with hand tools and small woodworking machinery. The demand for more efficient connection detailing and complex shapes set us exploring the best technology and equipment. The 5-axis Weinmann WMP was the machine that we needed to enable the level of repeated accuracy and detail we wanted to be able to offer. Being able to provide complete prefabricated major commercial structures with all shaping, detailing and connections included means site installation for the contractors is much quicker and easier. The CNC technology is now taking us on a new journey and we are keen to work with designers to keep advancing the potential of engineered timber structures.

SOLID WOOD PORTAL WMP 240 – MAXIMUM DYNAMICS AND FLEXIBILITY FOR PROCESSING SOLID WOOD ELEMENTS
The Weinmann WMP 240 solid wood portal is designed for speed and precision. Faced with solid wood and commercial constructions or laminated wooden beams, this machine processes materials with a width of up to 5.6 m and a length of 60 m or more at a high speed and accuracy level. A workpiece thickness of 350 mm is processed as standard, while a thickness of up to 600 mm can also be tackled with the flangeless saw blade.

BENEFITS

  • Considerable time savings thanks to the high processing speed with a peak power of up to 30 kW.
  • Wide processing range offered by the FLEX35 sawing unit and 18-slot tool changer, which allows unique tool configurations such as a chainsaw, drill, saw, trimmer and marker.
  • Variety of different shapes and materials can be processed, including cross-laminated timber, glue-laminated timber and laminated wooden beams.
  • Maximum accuracy thanks to precision linear guides and interpolating 5-axis processing technology.
  • Optional bracket and nailing units allow planks to be automatically mounted on the solid wood core.■

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