Case Study – Stanwell School


Stanwell School, located in Penarth near Cardiff, has an outstanding academic record. It was established over 100 years ago and now provides education for over 2,000 pupils in the 11-18 age group, with a growing number of pupils coming up through the Design and Technology Department, and with A level grades well above the national average.

This department used to have a large combination machine incorporating circular saw, spindle moulder and planer/thicknesser; however, after many years’ use, with a growing number of parts failing on it, and with the manufacturers no longer in business, the decision was made to replace it with individual machines. Once that decision had been made, and with the purchase of a rip saw and planer/ thicknesser, it raised the problem of how to cut large sheets in a small, compact workshop, where the school regularly needs to process 8’ x 4’ ply. This is used, for example, in preparation of materials in product design where the students have to make 3- D versions, and also by the Maintenance Department for preparation of materials for general maintenance projects around the school.

Nick Gifford, Head of Department, recognised that only a vertical panel saw could be accommodated, and ordered one of British manufacturer Sagetech Machinery’s Koolkut machines. Clearly, one of the factors that influenced his decision, and of key importance in a school environment, is machine safety. This is where vertical panel saws, recognised under the CE accreditation scheme, are acknowledged as much safer than table saws, with their exposed blade. In the case of the Sagetech Machinery’s machines, it is a two- handed operation, so hands are well away from being near to the blade; it is a “hold to run”, so machines cannot be left running unattended, and on release of the controls, the blade immediately retracts back into the guard, and electronic braking stops the motor in under 3 seconds.

As Nick said “the service was excellent, with the price being attractive, and the machine was delivered direct to the door”. Technician, David, added “I can even handle 1 inch ply on my own, whereas before on the old combination, it would take three of us , and getting all of us together all at the same time is not easy. What I also like is that it’s a lot more accurate, and the cut quality is significantly better.”

Proudly displaying his new vertical panel saw to Derek Jones, the school’s Head Teacher, Nick was commended for his purchase. He added “the dust extraction works really well, whereas before they had debris everywhere, now we are working with a much cleaner environment.”

In summing up, Nick explained “this machine gives a more professional feel to the workshop, helping us to tidy it up and enabling us to work much better, and I am happy to recommend it to others who are welcome to contact me. It is a fantastic bit of kit.”

For more information on what Zapkut’s panel cutting solutions could do for your business …