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Bartram Timber ‘Opt’ for Cursal Automatic Crosscut System From JJ Smith

Bartram Timber based in Sandy, Bedfordshire have recently invested in a new Cursal automatic crosscutting line supplied by JJ Smith. The company was set up by managing director James Bartram in 1998 and have gained an excellent reputation for their in depth knowledge of the timber industry, and the wide range of products they can offer to their ever expanding customer base. These products include timber, MDF panels and mouldings, Thermowood, decking and all its associated products. Foremost has been the development of importing and machining of hardwoods and softwoods which includes Larch and Cedar used for cladding, decking and construction. This has to be closely followed by their venture into the ‘ in house’ manufacture of Easi-Joist®, Trussed Rafters and Timber Frame, all of which involved a significant investment in machinery and personnel.



Earlier this year James Bartram recognised the need to increase his cross cutting capacity and so set about contacting several UK suppliers to see what they could recommend. In his own words some had ‘very little idea’ of what was required and consequently their proposals were immediately dismissed. However he had also contacted JJ Smith and spoke with their cross cutting product manager Kevin McGlone. He recognised straight away that Kevin ‘new his stuff’ and invited him down to the company’s Sandy site to review and discuss their exact production requirements in further detail. After calculating the through put Bartram needed to achieve a Cursal model TRSI high speed optimisation crosscut system was proposed. It was to have a 6m infeed capacity linked to a cross chain feed and board separation loading system, thus allowing the operator to load the infeed chains with boards while the machine automatically separates them prior to push feeding through the saw. On the outfeed of the saw a 5m conveyor with 2 x pneumatic kickers were specified enabling the cut pieces to be assigned to a specific location with the off-cuts going to a waste bin. Gravity fed unloading tables were also included to store the cut components.

The push feed system on this model of Cursal machine has pneumatic lifting of the pusher on the return run with feeding from right to left. Movement is on precision linear guides ( rolling circulation system ) with a built in lubrication device and driven by brush-less servo motor with high torque and precision. The speed of the pusher is programmable up to 200 m/min with a positioning accuracy of +/- 0.2mm/m. The saw cutting action is controlled by the machine CNC with adjustable cutting time from 0.3 to 2 seconds while the vertical movement of the saw blade is pneumatic with adjustable speed. The maximum saw diameter is 500mm, driven by a 7.5hp brake motor. In order to ensure a perfectly square cut there is a pneumatic side alignment arm with adjustable pressure fitted before the blade, and a pneumatic vertical pressure unit on the outfeed of the saw equipped with braking wheels and high resistance rubber to reduce wear. The machine is controlled by an industrial PC ( CNC with colour display ) allowing the operator quick and easy programming. Depending on customers individual requirements 3 different levels of optimisation can be specified.


In order for James to fully evaluate all the features of the proposed machine, a visit to SCA Timber in Hull was arranged as they had purchased a similar specification system last year. As he is qualified pilot, owning his own helicopter it took him less than an hour to reach SCA, who kindly allowed him to land next to the factory. James spent a considerable amount of time inspecting the machine and talking with SCA staff about its performance and reliability. As everything he viewed and heard was very positive, a final price was agreed with Kevin and order placed there and then.

The Cursal Saw Line was delivered on time and James comments “ As result of JJ Smith’s professional approach, every aspect of the order and installation went very smoothly. The saw is working even faster than we had originally anticipated and it is performing extremely well. Due to our continuing growth there is every chance we will be adding the optional infeed automatic vacuum lifting system in the none to distant future. Kevin McGlone adds “It has been a pleasure to work with James on this project and we are delighted to have been able to supply a cross cut system that exactly suited Bartram’s requirements. As we supply a range of cross cutting machines from different manufacturers this enables us to offer the correct solution to suit each customers individual requirements, rather than a ‘one type’ fits all approach which some suppliers can only offer”.