SO Modular, the Timber Frame construction specialist, has increased its production capacity by 700% thanks to a significant six-figure investment in new machinery at its new 350,000 sqft timber and modular manufacturing facility in Neath, South Wales.
The development of the facility began in April 2020 and is set for an official launch at the end of summer 2021. Once completed, with all the new machinery installed and running, the site will immediately be able to expand from its current production capacity of 500 homes per year to 3,500 homes per year on a single shift.
The timber and modular manufacturing facility will also be a zero-carbon, sustainable site, creating a number of skilled employment opportunities in the local area. SO Modular has been able to fund the purchase of its new machinery through an Innovative Housing Programme (IHP) loan with Tai Tarian – one of the largest social landlords in Wales.
The new machinery is considerably more efficient – both in terms of speed and energy usage – than that currently being employed by the company. It will also produce less waste and will contribute towards the company sustainably manufacturing low carbon homes.
The new machinery includes a treatment tank, Production Lines, a biomass boiler, a Hundegger TURBO-Drive II Saw, a vertical saw and a factory blow insulation machine. The Hundegger TURBO-Drive II Saw will speed up timber processes, increase accuracy and reduce waste with the use of computer software technology. The saw’s optimisation software means that any offcuts it produces are automatically cut into smaller standardised pieces, which can then be used as other functional aspects of modular joist and cassette manufacture.
The biomass boiler will ensure waste timber is used to reheat the facilities, and avoid it being transported to landfill for disposal. As well as heating the factory and offices, the boiler is also used to dry treated timber in the facility’s new in-house treatment tank, helping the company reduce its own fuel costs and aiding in its goal to create a sustainable, renewable process for timber frame manufacturing.
The new treatment tank will allow high- and low-pressure treatments, meaning SO Modular will be able to treat not only standard timber but also timbers that require a higher level of treatment such as sole plates. This makes it far more cost effective than imported pre-treated timber, helping the company to achieve its affordable homes target.
Charlotte Hale, Operations Director at SO Modular, said: “We’re very excited to announce the purchasing and acquirement of new machinery, with the help of the IHP Tai Tarian loan. These new, efficient machines will go a long will in aiding us to establish a state-of-the-art, sustainable manufacturing facility in Wales. Furthermore, this acquirement will allow us to create new jobs in the area and provide even more affordable, low carbon homes to help the UK meet zero-carbon targets, protect the environment and address the country’s need for affordable housing.”