SawGear eliminates the need to “measure twice, cut once” – enables BC Greenhouse to deliver custom products on a large scale.
Henry Heinen, along with his wife, Greta, purchased BC Greenhouse Builders, a family-owned and operated greenhouse manufacturing company in 1972, after being an employee for 13 years. Heinen had big aspirations for the small business and turned it into one of North America’s most successful greenhouse manufacturers, offering turn-key luxury estate greenhouses, conservatories, and garden rooms.
Today the company, which is located in Surrey, British Columbia, offers one of the largest selections of glass and polycarbonate greenhouses to suit all gardening needs and climates. One of the keys to its success lies in the company’s incredible engineering standards. Its greenhouse structures are unique due to their modular and adaptable designs and can handle some of the highest snow loads (32 psf, or pounds per square foot) and wind loads (85 mph) in North America.
So how does a company like BC Greenhouses stay competitive in a constantly changing world? We spoke with Glen Bolger, BC Greenhouse’s production manager, for the answer.
One of BC Greenhouse’s points of differentiation is the design freedom they offer their customers. BC doesn’t restrict the creative process and can modify greenhouses in virtually any way and produce custom greenhouses to suit its customers’ needs and desires.
But being able to support such a lofty product goal in the shop can be difficult. “Our versatile product requires many cut to length operations, utilizing various chop and radial arm saws combined with manual measure & mark techniques,” says Bolger.
However, the manual measure and mark technique wasn’t fast or accurate enough for Glen’s team. He needed to streamline his production process. When Glen heard about SawGear by TigerStop, an automated fence that could attach to his existing chop saws and radial arm saws, he decided to give automatic measuring a trial run.
“After a demonstration model loan and a quick cost-benefit analysis, we opted to purchase and install a 12′ version [SawGear] at our busiest saw. As it turns out, the newest piece of technology in the plant is working in conjunction with the oldest—a mid-century DeWalt radial arm saw. This is now a key talking point during plant tours.”
SawGear Automatic Measuring
Programming in the lengths needed to cut parts into SawGear’s powerhead has proved much faster for Glen and his crew. He explains, “SawGear has eliminated the ‘measure – mark – check measurement’ routine that occurred for every cut prior to its use. The time savings result allows for increased output. In addition, the unit also reduces the potential for errors made from inaccurate markings or tape measure readings and contributes to a better fitting, top quality product for our clients. The unit has proven easy to install, simple to train operators on, and easy to use on a daily basis,” says Bolger.
Glen describes his first impressions with SawGear: “Our first SawGear installation and use has been so successful that we are poised to purchase our second unit,” says Bolger. The new SawGear unit will allow this family-owned and operated business to continue its mission of producing top-of-the-line greenhouses for years to come. “This will aid us in achieving our goals of continuous improvement, a top-quality product, and increased profitability.”
Streamlining the production process and cutting costs in wasted materials and employee time while increasing output, has given BC Greenhouse Builders its true competitive edge. It enables the family business, which is now lead by the Heinens’ son, Rick, to continue to maintain the highest quality standards that were set in place more than 64 years ago.