Timber Construction: Technology Cooperation that Starts Early in the Project Phase

When a customer turns to Essetre, it is usually because they are looking for a tailor-made technology for a specific application. In fact, the Thiene-based company specializes in the development of customized and innovative solutions that meet the customer’s exact requirements. Marco Battistotti, Managing Director of NTC NUM Italy: “As these are very specific machines, a technical collaboration has developed over time between Essetre and NUM, starting from the design phase of the machines. This also applies to the Techno Multiwall machining center.”

A unique selling point that sets Essetre apart in the market is “creative genius”. The founder Gianni Sella has always been a genius in inventing machines and technologies for the furniture and woodworking industry. He was able to pass this genius on to his children Cristina, Nicola and Andrea, who now run the company alongside Gianni. “It’s important to know the market, the customers and the technology”, says Cristina Sella, who is in charge of the company’s marketing and administration department. “But Essetre’s real strength is that it has managed to build a successful team over the years.”

The history of Essetre began more than forty years ago in the garage of the house of Sella with not much more than a simple CNC router. The company was founded as a specialist in the manufacture of milling machines and machining centers for the woodworking industry. Throughout its history it has developed machines for the construction of windows, sofas, chairs, curved elements and so on. This covers more or less all trendy segments of the woodworking industry. For the past 20 years, the company has also been active in carpentry and wood construction, a market segment that now accounts for about 90 percent of its business. “We started with a machine for processing large beams, Cristina Sella recounts. “Then the market evolved and today Essetre offers numerous solutions for the construction industry. The spectrum ranges from the machines for the smallest beams and therefore for the simplest machining operations to the Techno Fast machining center, our workhorse, which we have been producing in series for some time. Of course, this is also always adapted to the customer’s needs with small modifications.”

Essetre is based in Thiene (Vicenza province) and has a recently expanded production facility with a surface area of around 9,000 square meters. The company employs more than 50 people and supplies customers all over the world, also thanks to the recently opened sales office in Charlotte, North Carolina USA. The machines designed and manufactured by Essetre are all customized, meaning they differ from one another. “That’s what makes us so special”, explains Cristina Sella. “The customer comes to us and asks us to develop a solution for a specific application. Sometimes that’s not easy because we face complex design challenges, but that’s what drives us.”

The NUM/Essetre partnership is long lived, in fact the first NUM control in the wood industry was installed at Essetre. The introduction of a numerical control, as so often happens, changes the perspective of a company. “As these are very special machines”, says Marco Battistotti, Managing Director of NTC NUM Italy, “a technical collaboration has developed over the years between Essetre and NUM, starting at the machine design stage. In addition to supplying CNC controls, motors, and drives, software implementations are sometimes required to map the specific functions required by the machines. We help Essetre make their machines more competitive and profitable.”

A practical example of the collaboration between Essetre and NUM is the Techno Multiwall, a CNC machining center for machining curved beams, X-LAM/CLT walls, SIPS walls and frame walls up to 6000 mm wide, 480 mm thick and unlimited length. The Techno Multiwall is a 5-axis machining center with a 55 kW work spindle. It is equipped with a NUM Flexium+ 68 numerical control with SHX single-cable motors and MDLUX modular drives, and can operate at machining speeds of 20 m/minute and more. “This machine is mainly used for machining the walls of wooden houses”, explains Nicola Sella, sales and software manager at Essetre. “In practice, this means that once the wall is loaded, the machine performs all the necessary machining. For example, it creates the openings for doors and windows, for installations, etc. The advantage of this solution is the automation of the entire process using software developed in-house, which, starting from the architect’s design of the house, can create a production list including the machining macros. In this way, the technicians only have to define the machining sequence of the optimized panels. And all this is, of course, controlled by the NUM Flexium+ 68 numerical control.“

Like most solutions developed by Essetre, the Techno Multiwall machining center consists of a basic structure that is then adapted according to the application. “Depending on the number and type of machining operations to be performed by the customer”, Nicola Sella continues, “the machining center is equipped with two or three heads (effectively distinguishing the type of machining operations to be performed). Further, it is decided with how many tool magazines the machining center should be equipped, what length the roller conveyors should have, etc. “ 

Another interesting feature of the Techno Multiwall, which distinguishes it from similar solutions offered by our competitors, is the patented automatic turning system, integrated into the machine and also controlled by the NUM Flexium+ 68 numerical control. This automatic turning system moves the workpiece to the most suitable position depending on the program and the machining operation. “Thanks to this system”, says Nicola Sella, “we can turn walls weighing up to 4 to 5 tons.” 

(September 2023)