Schmid Schrauben Hainfeld wins Lower Austria Innovation Award 2019
Just how much innovation it is possible to discover in an old established and, at first glance, quite mundane product has recently been demonstrated by Schmid Schrauben Hainfeld, with its RAPID® Hardwood screw, for which the company recently gained the Lower Austrian Innovation Award, in the Large and Medium-Sized Enterprise category.
Schmid Schrauben Hainfeld developed RAPID® Hardwood in a joint research project with research institutions and related companies over a period of 2.5 years, covering several thousand trials. This is the first wood screw, to gain building product certification and approval for timber construction, that can be processed in hardwood such as beech and oak without pre-drilling.
Reasoning of the jury:
Schmid Screws show his solving skills with the new RAPID Hardwood. The new screw not only increases the
output for users but also delivers a significant contribution to the use of sustainable built materials.
What makes this different to the conventional screw?
Currently, for screws of 80 mm length or above, screwing into hardwood requires pre-drilling. This is primarily due to the higher material density and the higher stresses acting on the screw. By changing multiple screw parameters, Schmid Schrauben was able to reduce the forces acting on the screw, thus allowing it to be screwed directly into hardwood without pre-drilling. This patented innovation represents an absolute world first for the wood processing industry.
Why do you need a hardwood screw?
Because of climate change, even today there is already a notable change in the composition of our forests. Traditional construction timbers such as spruce and pine continue to migrate to higher and more northern regions and are increasingly affected in our latitudes by pests, such as bark beetle. There is a change occurring in forestry, going from pure spruce monoculture to mixed forests. In the future, a much greater amount of hardwood will be available on the market, which will also be used in the construction industry.
What is the benefit of hardwood?
Due to its higher material strength, less hardwood is required for timber construction to sustain comparable loads compared to softwood. This property results in much smaller cross-sections for the timber construction elements and is therefore associated with slimmer, more elegant and open structures. This in turn opens up new opportunities for architects and structural engineers when designing timber structures.
The Cost/Benefit calculation
Compared to softwood, per cubic meter, hardwood is much more expensive - but this can be partially offset by the lower amount of material required. The big difference comes in the processing of the wood. The direct screwing of softwood without pre-drilling has been the de-facto state-of-the-art for Schmid Schrauben for years, even for larger construction timber dimensions, but till now there have always been physical limits with hardwood. Previously, screws greater than 80 mm in length, with a diameter of 8 mm, have had to be pre-drilled. This means an additional work step and consequently significantly more labour time and higher costs. This is exactly the problem that RAPID® Hardwood solves so effectively.