Once upon a time there was a prototype…
Isocell's machine technology has developed significantly in recent years — thanks in no small part to a timber builder from Germany.
It was the second machine of its kind — and yet also the first. When Isocell developed the first bridge solution for blowing cellulose insulation into wooden frame elements in 2000, an initial prototype was produced. However, the machine’s useful life was cut short when the Swiss factory that housed it burned down. It was a different story for the second machine, which was developed for a German company in 2006.
The ninth largest town in the German region of Hessen is home to 67,000 inhabitants and lies right in the heart of the country — Fulda. At the wood construction firm Holzbau Gutmann, which is based just a short distance from the town, the processing of timber is overseen by the fifth generation of the Gutmann family in the form of the current managing directors, Dirk and Rüdiger Gutmann. When the first prototype blowing machine from Isocell was produced in Switzerland in 2000, it was used to build wooden houses here, near Fulda. Thanks to an innovation in wall construction by Gutmann — a cable duct that was patented in 2016 — the wall elements could only be blown-in while lying down. “Isocell designed the right machine for this application and developed its original prototype from 2000.” A very special blowing machine was created. It was a pilot project that was being promoted; it worked superbly for us and revolutionised blow-in technology,” recalls Dirk Gutmann. Indeed, the Isocell machine continued to produce outstanding results for years afterwards. Until this summer. Ultimately, just as the world continues to turn, Isocell's technological evolution has taken its course. “A lot has happened since 2006, so we decided to create a new machine. The new one lets us produce even more effectively and thus build more houses,” says Gutmann.
Isocell's latest blowing machine, which can also be operated via tablet, has been in operation at Holzbau Gutmann since May this year. Every day. “We work exclusively with cellulose. We don't have any customers who want to use glass wool. We stand for high-quality materials,” says Dirk Gutmann, explaining why the new blowing machine more than makes sense for his family business.
For three years, his company has also been producing prefabricated houses under the Gutmannhaus brand. About 25 are produced annually, a third of which are turnkey homes. That requires around 100,000 kilos of cellulose per year. In addition to this segment, normal carpentry and renovations remain on the agenda.
48 employees work for Holzbau Gutmann — and actually the whole family helps out. Their father, Reinhold, is still happy to work at the age of 69, and even their mother, Margarethe, refuses to stop working at the age of 65. And with Dirk Gutmann's wife Christine, his sister-in-law Sabine, his brother's wife, and managing director Rüdiger, the new generation is also fully committed. “That works well and suits us,” explains Dirk Gutmann. “And we don’t want more than 50 employees. Otherwise it would be too big and hard to manage,” he smiles.
Incidentally, the new Isocell blowing machine will also help here. Not only can it be used more precisely and faster, thanks to its fully automatic blow-in capability the firm also needs fewer personnel.