Swedish Saw Makes the Cut at Ecocor in the First U.S. Facility Dedicated to the Prefabrication of Passive Houses

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Randek Saw Installed and Running in Factory that Speeds Production of Most Energy Conscious Buildings Made in America Today

Ecocor, LLC, a construction firm that manufactures, delivers and assembles high performance buildings, is ramping up production of super energy efficient prefabricated Passive Houses with the adoption of state of the art equipment from the Swedish company Randek AB, the world’s leader in high-performance machines and systems for prefabricated house manufacturing.

The new production equipment will help Ecocor, who has already established a reputation for delivering some of the most energy efficient homes in the country, lower construction costs, boost output and increase safety. The most significant advancement is related to the saw's direct connection to the digital building models that the firm has invested in as part of a design partnership with Richard Pedranti Architect. Ecocor is aiming to have a paperless process in place, where the entire building is constructed without printing shop drawings.

Randek’s SP 728 Multi-Axis CNC saw can do the work of several carpenters, and, while running the saw is a skilled job, it is not a manually exhausting process because the saw adjusts itself using servos and is controlled by buttons and a touch screen. A suite of Swedish designed “framing tables” clamp, square and hydraulically lift entire prefabricated wall assemblies that are certified to meet Passive House standards, while creating an assembly line flow for the company's production.

“Our goal is that this new line will enable our current team to increase production by a factor of 10,” said Ecocor Founder and Technical Director Chris Corson, who has been building super-efficient houses by hand since 2000 and is a leader in the United States’ Passive House movement.

Ecocor uses a method the Swedes call “element construction,” vertically packing all walls and floors for delivery before assembling it in about 120 man hours using a crane. Ecocor’s building methods are very similar to the approaches used in Sweden, where almost all homes are built with systems that rely on factories like the one Ecocor has assembled in Maine. Scott Hedges, Randek’s North American representative and an expert on panelized systems of construction, worked with Ecocor to design a cost effective production system that draws heavily on Swedish precedents, but which he says is, “absolutely innovative and unique.” Hedges went on to add that, “Ecocor is the most agile, most visionary and most driven company he’s had the pleasure of working with.”

“Home buyers in the United States tend to equate factory built homes as modular homes, but our process is quite different because of the panelization process, which allows us to achieve higher tolerances and shorter lead times with much more flexibility than typical modular homes,” explained Corson. “Homes manufactured by Ecocor are quite literally the best that money can buy – and because of our methods and automation strategies, we’re delivering new homes in a fraction of the time and at prices comparable to traditional construction.”

With Randek’s saw, the Ecocor team is able to cut their panelized walls and assemblies with exceptional accuracy.

“Our saw needed a bit of software modification to speak in American fractions,” said Johan Svensson, the Swedish saw maker from Randek. “Our saw can cut to an accuracy of one tenth of a millimeter, which we learned on this project is less than 1/64th of an inch, but we still don’t know why anyone would use fractions if they didn’t have to.”

Such precision may seem like overdoing it since most carpenters would be happy to be within a 1/16 inch for framing a house, but at Ecocor, precision starts with the design process and continues through to the completion of the homes. The bits that are not visible in the end are just as important as the fit and finish. No detail is overlooked.

“There is no overkill,” said Corson. “We looked carefully at all the saws in the market and concluded that the Swedish Randek SP 728 is the best combination of value and quality in a fully digital saw, and we could see that the Swedes had a philosophy of doing things that work well in North America too.”

About Ecocor
Ecocor is a construction firm that designs, manufactures, delivers and assembles high performance buildings throughout North America. Ecocor’s patent pending foundation and wall designs reduce energy consumption for heating and cooling buildings by 80-90%, which substantially reduces the cost of ownership and the building’s carbon footprint, while increasing the comfort of its owners. Using patent pending processes to manufacture Passive House International (PHI) certified panelized building components, Ecocor has better control, higher quality and much shorter time-to-occupancy than any site-built construction. Learn more at http://www.ecocor.us/.

About Rankek AB
Randek develops, manufactures and markets high-performance machines and systems for prefabricated house manufacturing. The product range consist of: cut saws, wall floor and roof lines, roof truss system, butterfly tables and special machines. The automation level stretches from fully automated to manual. The company history goes back to the 1940s and began working in close cooperation with the first prefabricating house producers. Today leading house producers in 38 countries are using Randek machines and system. at http://www.randek.com

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Robert Kreis
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