Soukup Wizard 4L CNC machining centre transforms production at Blairs Window & Doors

Soukup Wizard 4L CNC machining centre

Established in 1913, Blairs Window & Doors has a tremendous wealth of experience when it comes to designing and manufacturing windows, doors and conservatories.

With an ethos based on delivering unrivalled client service with continuous commitment to quality and price, the company has three factories in Scotland: at Greenock, Inverclyde and Hillington near Glasgow. Needing to upgrade its manufacturing capability, Blairs was in the market for a replacement of its 36-year-old Harbs machine.


From right to left: Soukup MD, Jaroslav Soukup, with the Blairs team on site at the Soukup factory

Blairs’ product portfolio

Looking at the company’s key area of expertise, this involves designing and fabricating timber, aluminium and PVCu products for commercial and domestic projects across the UK. In terms of timber options, Blairs’ portfolio includes sash and case, casement, double swing, tilt and turn, external doorsets, and bespoke windows to suit all situations and performance criteria.

The sash window is one of the most recognisable window styles throughout the UK, and Blairs design naturally features the classic, stepped, vertically-sliding upper and lower sashes. This product is of course widely specified and selected for Conservation areas and Listed Buildings applications. Blairs has two options – its Victorian and Georgian designs – with options of single- or double- glazing plus a range of hardware choices. It’s available with the sashes counterbalanced by either traditional cords and weights, or spiral balances. Optional simplex fittings are also available for the cords and weights version to assist with cleaning from within. All of the company’s products are produced to the highest certified industry standards and backed by a 10-year guarantee.

The Blairs Casement range provides a modern, tailor-made replacement for the traditional casement window style, and the range includes top swing reversible; side hung; top hung; deadlights; and fixed sash designs.


The Wizard 4L can be controlled as an integrated working centre or as two independent machines by an industrial PC, which runs specialised control software, with an operator interacting with the machine via a touch-screen panel

Soukup solution

Joe Boyd, Operations Manager at Blairs Windows and Doors, was clear in his search for a viable replacement: “We were looking to upgrade a 36-year-old Harbs machine, which mills our profiles for double swing and enhanced casement windows. We extensively researched the machinery market and entered into dialogue with all the major manufacturers, but only one appeared to match our particular and special requirements.

“The only credible option was proposed by Ian Brown at International Woodworking Machinery (IWM) – the UK agent for Czech company, Soukup,” Joe explains. It was clear to Ian that a Soukup solution would be ideal for Blairs, and following an initial outline, he introduced Joe to Jaroslav Soukup, Soukup MD and CEO.

Factory visit

“Ian and Jaroslav’s proposal was the impressive Wizard 4L CNC machining centre, which, with its unique technical features to manufacture our window sections with greater accuracy and increased productivity, was ultimately a straightforward conclusion to arrive at,” Joe continues.

In order for Joe and his team to be totally confident with their selection, Ian organised visits to several sites in the UK already using the Soukup solution before visiting the Soukup factory in Czech for themselves.

“We travelled to the Soukup factory in Prague to see, first hand, what their set-up was like as well as witnessing the machines in various stages of production,” says Joe. “During the pre-delivery inspection, we saw our machine fitted with Zuani tooling milling our large double swing window profiles, and this only confirmed that we’d chosen the correct supplier. We duly signed off the machine before it was directly shipped to our factory.”


The tenoning operation is carried out by spindles long enough to accommodate all types of tenoning tool

Immediate results

Having made the Wizard 4L investment, according to Joe, the results were clear to see: “The big improvement for us is that we now have a new, highly efficient machine, which is fully supported by IWM. Of course, we’re also now much less dependent on a 36-year-old machine that was becoming difficult to source parts for, which ultimately means significantly less downtime and much greater productivity.”

The Wizard 4L machining centre comprises of two independent machines: one each for tenoning and profiling. It can be controlled as an integrated working centre or as two independent machines by an industrial PC, which runs specialised control software, with an operator interacting with the machine via a touch-screen panel.

The machine’s capacity is about 30-40 one leaf windows per shift using the traditional technique of outside milling of sashes. The CNC can produce around 60 knock-down windows using the left working spindle for milling from both sides.

The Wizard 4L model, with its unique configuration, enables pre-squaring production. The tenoning operation is carried out by spindles that are long enough to accommodate all types of tenoning tool. Soukup’s unique tenoning cycle tenons and mills the timber end’s outer shape in a time efficient manner. The duality of the left and right profiling spindles ensures ultimate precision, which is an essential requirement. As only one single machine operation is involved, the process is therefore incredibly fast and precise. All units are driven by high-speed brushless motors and the long gear feeder guarantees smooth surface finishes.


The Wizard 4L model, with its unique configuration, enables pre-squaring production

Product quality is second to none

Since Blairs’ machine was only commissioned at the end of January, Joe and the team can only comment on its performance to date, but early signs are extremely promising: “Product quality is second to none,” Joe confirms, “and we’re now working volumes and experiencing growing efficiencies. The machine has only been operational for a short time, but in terms of our experience so far, I’d certainly recommend Soukup window machinery to any prospective IWM/Soukup clients.”

For further information on Soukup machinery, call IWM on 01636 918 280, email [email protected] or visit the website:

International Woodworking Machinery Ltd
Newark Business Park, Unit 20 3 Brunel Drive
NG24 2EG
01636 918 280