Headquartered in Schwarzach, near the western border of Austria, Schelling has been in business for a long time – in fact, since 1917 when it was founded by Georg Schelling. It went into the manufacture of sawing machines in 1958, producing its first automatic cut-to-size plant 10 years later.
Having steadily expanded throughout the world, including establishing a sales and service centre, Schelling North America, in the US, the company became a well-known name for supplying the complex angular sawing systems increasingly in demand by the panel industry.
From 1996, Schelling went through different development phases – including a time under the ownership of Biesse of Italy – which ended three years ago when the company returned to being an independent, stand-alone business.
At that time the current managing directors, Stefan Gritsch and Wolfgang Rohner, who both hold shares in Schelling, took control of the business. They were joined by two other investors. The company has a turnover in the order of ❅1.6bn.
But 2003 marked more than just a change of ownership for the company. It also marked the launch of the ‘Evolution’ concept, which Schelling claims is a milestone in sawing technology.
“We see our strength as being in solving the highest challenges in the cut-to-size markets,said Jürgen Thurnher, head of marketing.
The company has two production sites in Austria – the headquarters and main factory at Schwarzach, close to the large and beautiful Bodensee lake; and a smaller manufacturing unit in Altach. Together, these two facilities employ a total of 235 staff.
It also still has Schelling North America, as well as Schelling Polska in Poland  (established in 1998), and another sales and service centre in the UK (1989), mainly serving the furniture industry there.
In 2004, the company re-established a sales and service presence within Asia with Schelling Asia Pte Ltd, in Singapore.
Besides those subsidiaries, Schelling has also established a worldwide network of 45 dealers and service departments.
Schelling Anlagenbau supplies four main market areas: panel manufacturers, furniture makers, non-ferrous metal processors (such as the aircraft industry) and manufacturers of plastics and circuit boards.
Traditionally, panel makers account for anywhere up to 50% of the business, averaging around 20 to 30% depending on the market.
“We have a firm strategy for the business,explained Mr Thurnher. “Our main goal is to ‘be the first choice for the ambitious customer’ and we intend to make it possible for the customer to produce high quality products economically by getting close to him and engaging with him.”
The company offers plants which include sorting, stacking and packaging.
“Schelling has the biggest market share, particularly in Europe where it is around 50% and it also has a similar share in the US,said Stefan Hinterholzer, sales manager for the large cut-to-size plants.
“Logistics are very important and so the software is very important,he added. “We have our own optimisation software specific to our own systems and all our design activities are carried out inhouse – this is what we call ‘Schelling Plus’.
“It can be represented by a circle: logistics solutions are calculated and simulated; mechanical and electrical engineering are then carried out; then manufacturing and installation; control software; optimization software; start-up service and finally aftersales service, completing the circle.
A typical flow chart of data and material would involve optimisation software instructing the saw and importing the appropriate board from storage to be cut to the specified size. The cut pieces then go to stacking, with the automatic introduction of cover boards as required. Next comes strapping, then label printing if required.
Data is fed back from the strapping area to the customer ERP, and board storage and parts list information is exchanged with the optimisation system to guarantee a  customized solution to fulfil customer requirements, explains Mr Hinterholzer.
An example of such a system was that supplied to Weyerhaeuser, where it covered from stacking to cut-to-size to packaging and labelling with a board size of 7.5m by 3.0m and thicknesses of 1.5mm to 40mm.
Start-up of every Schelling installation is carried out by its own staff, as is after-sales service. There is also a 24-hour hotline phone and an online maintenance remote updating service.
“We have been offering a remote diagnostics service for six or seven years now, with an ever-increasing number of sensors to monitor the machines and optimise the logistics in those machines,said Mr Hinterholzer.
The Schelling Evolution sawing concept, launched in 2003, is said to produce up to 50% higher speed than a conventional system and to have a maximum achieved output of over 100m3 per hour of customized finished components with an optimized book height of up to 200mm.
It also incorporates the Schelling thin board feeding concept, which employs a nip roller principle with automatic feeding for boards down to 0.8mm thickness.
“Our policy is to optimise the 200mm book height as far as possible, rather than going to a 300 or 400mm book,explained Mr Hinterholzer. “The question is: increase the speed or increase the book height? A larger book needs big batch runs and thus leads to reduced flexibility. Our long-term experience has shown us that it is better to have a lower book height and more flexibility in the system.”
The Schelling system uses only one saw, and not a cutting and a scribing saw common in other systems. The reason, according to Mr Hinterholzer, is that two blades create a longer pass for the panel before it clears both blades, and on the Schelling system there is only one blade to change for sharpening (compensating, he claims, for shorter blade life of a single blade), and there is less heat generated with one blade than two because with two blades, the gullet between the teeth is not exposed.
Another major feature of the Innovation saw carriage is that the saw motor is stationary whereas on most competitors’ machines, the motor has to be lifted up and down. “We only lift the pulley and saw blade, with a belt system,explained Mr Thurnher.
The blade is clamped in its operating position and vibration is taken away through the heavy steel frame to the floor – claimed as another Schelling innovation. So is the use of a hardened steel blade to orientate the chips coming from the saw and remove them as quickly as possible, thus reducing saw blade wear.
“The heart of every Schelling cut-to-size plant is the saw with its heavy steel table,explained Mr Thurnher. “Schelling saws just don’t wear out and today we have plants still in three-shift operation which were installed more than 15 years ago.”
Schelling’s saw tables are made with a sacrificial brass strip bolted on to the sawing edge of each half. On initial assembly, the two halves of the table are butted together and the saw is then run through, thus cutting its own, minimum width, gap in the brass. Tables are ultimately hard-chromed.
As an option, tables are available with the hardest surface treatment in the market, says the company.
With the Schelling Plus Strategy and the policy of manufacturing the main components in-house, the company says it offers the highest quality to its customers.
Design is carried out by CAD, which can also simulate forces in the system, and all software is designed in a dedicated department. The company has also carried out research into vibration, in partnership with a local technical college. “This is the kind of detail we go into,said Mr Thurnher.
The apprentice department employs around 30 trainees and is one of the most important areas of the factory, ensuring Schelling’s future skill requirements.
“Training and education are key factors in supporting our customers.We have 22- year-olds in charge of our installations for smaller machines because of the level of their training.”
In spite of ownership changes, Schelling has carried on making sawing systems and developing them and the present management claims it is determined to continue that development.