£3m investment programme at CR Smith factory

New machinery that can reduce the production time to make a window from days to minutes has been installed at the manufacturing plant of home improvements company CR Smith.

The 25m long, fully-automated cutting and machining equipment combines a number of processes that were traditionally carried out separately and is part of a £3m investment in a total of five new machines, making the company’s Cowdenbeath factory one of the most advanced in the country.

With the new equipment now fully operational the factory, which employs 75 people, is capable of producing 200 windows a day.

CR Smith Factory in Cowdenbeath.

CR Smith Factory in Cowdenbeath.

Colin Eadie, factory manager at CR Smith, sees the investment as a measure of the company’s ongoing commitment to retaining its manufacturing operation in Scotland. He said:

“The main benefits include enhanced quality and efficiency. The new machine is capable of carrying out its functions within tolerances of as little as 0.2mm. This means we can guarantee a level of consistent quality which far outstrips industry standards. The real efficiency gain comes from eliminating the “rest time” that arises between the traditional process steps.

“A window that could typically take up to two days to work its way through the traditional machine shop processes, can now reach the same point in less than 10 minutes. In a business where lead times can be short and expectations are high these gains provide CR Smith Manufacturing with the accuracy and flexibility to always meet our customers’ needs."

The automated cutting and machining equipment, which was manufactured in Germany, is the first of this new generation of machinery to be deployed in the UK. It undertakes the drilling, routing and cutting of the window frame in 6m lengths and can process off-cuts for optimisation. It is fully enclosed with “time locked doors” for safety and has a built in dust extractor, as well as being linked to the company’s computerised order processing and is fully operational for CR Smith’s full range of Lorimer windows, doors and conservatories. Four operators are currently undergoing training.

Alan Fleming, has worked in the CR Smith factory for 35 years and is one of the company’s longest serving members of staff. A production manager responsible for ensuring orders are met, on time and to the firm’s exacting standards, he couldn’t be more delighted.

He said:

“Progress is a wonderful thing and this machine makes producing windows a real pleasure. I’ve seen many changes at the factory, but this rates as one of the best.”

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