LINNELL BROS LTD, ONE OF THE UK’S LONGEST ESTABLISHED TIMBER MERCHANTS, IS SETTING BEST PRACTICE STANDARDS FOR TIMBER TREATMENT TOGETHER WITH LONZA WOOD PROTECTION.
Founded in 1880 by Arthur Linnell, the business is now in the hands of the family’s fourth generation and is being driven forward by the founder’s great grandchildren, Roger, James and John Linnell. The Northampton-based company has remained true to its original goals to provide high quality products, friendly and knowledgeable customer support and competitive prices, and has established itself as a respected go-to supplier for both domestic and commercial timber solutions in building, landscaping, agricultural, fencing, transport and engineering projects around the country. Recent contracts include supplying treated timber for Woburn Safari Park, Heathrow Terminal Five, the Crown Estates in Windsor and the neighbouring Silverstone Racetrack.
Over the last 18 months, Linnell Bros has invested over £1 million in its timber-based business, including two brand new high pressure timber treatment plants. John Linnell says, “We needed greater preservative treatment capacity and the new plants have doubled the volume of timber we can treat. In addition to the large projects we regularly supply, we also service a strong fencing market. The new technologies from Lonza and their engineering partners Tweddle Engineering give us not just increased capacity, but support in the accurate specification for treatment. Our investment brings us right up-to-date with the new Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) regulations. This reinforces our aim of best practice across the business and ensuring we work to the very highest standards.”
The two new timber treatment plants are housed under cover on-site. “Derek Tweddle and the team at Tweddle Engineering have been fantastic,” says John Linnell. “They have installed a superb system for us, with fully automated, tilting vessels and transfer systems. The treated timbers come out much drier, we recover more preservative solution and after each treatment we are ready to go again straight away.” The new building also features impressive rain water reclamation of around 100,000 litres a month into Linnell Bros 300,000 litre capacity water storage, all but negating their need for mains supply for the site.
The high pressure treatment is offered with a green or brown finish, and utilises Lonza Wood Protection’s proven and patented next generation TANALITH wood preservative.
For over 80 years Lonza Wood Protection has pioneered and developed customer and market focused protection technologies for timber. The company is the leading European supplier of products and processes for the effective preservative and fire retardant protection of timber, and its products are extensively tested in accordance with national and international standards.
Andy Hodge, marketing director at Lonza Wood Protection, explains, “The ‘TANALITH’ brand has been around for over 80 years providing our customers with a tried, tested and real world protection for construction and outdoor timbers.
“However we are always looking to improve our products and provide extra confidence to secure and maintain our market sectors. In creating our TANALITH product we have not changed the successful core ingredients, but have added our innovative BARamine application technologies to boost its already impressive performance. The combination of TANALITH and BARamine work together to give enhanced, robust protection.”
Lonza and Tweddle Engineering are constantly developing new treatment plant features and innovations to meet the changing requirements of the market and industry regulations. Typical recent developments include superior performance pump systems to help ensure the shortest possible vacuum, fill and empty times.
New treatment plants are also designed to meet specific customer through-put requirements, particular space limitations and full compliance to the Industrial Emissions Directive, and John Linnell is rightly proud that their facility not only meets the standards required by IED now, but into the future, saying “With our IED and regulatory compliance including HSE, we believe our timber treatment plant is the model of what a modern facility should be.”
Linnell Bros’s timber treatment plants are controlled and managed by Lonza’s Auto-Treater software, which was designed, developed and supported by Lonza’s own engineering team. Andy Hodge says, “Auto-Treater provides reliable and extremely accurate process control together with an intuitive management reporting function. It was very important to us to make it both easy to learn and easy to use. Incorporated into brand new plant design such as that at Linnell Bros, or retro-fitted to existing operations, Auto-Treater provides outstanding benefits and reassurance.” John Linnell agrees: “Auto-Treater is brilliant and we have great ongoing support from Lonza’s technical manager Ed Webster in developing it to suit our exact needs. It saves time and money and provides our treatment operators with an overall easier to use, more efficient and safer control system. We get exactly the right specification for each treatment and from the system’s reports the figures are monitored very precisely in Kg rather than an approximate percentage. The paper trail for timber treatment is very important and Auto- Treater is a great system to manage and monitor the process.”
Under the direction of the new generation, Linnell Bros machines and processes timber on-site in the company’s comprehensively equipped workshop, offering a complete range of timber products such as flooring, traditionally hand-crafted gates and decking as well as undertaking bespoke design and manufacture. With their large volumes of stock of homegrown and imported timber on their well organised 15 acre site, delivery can be within two working days on standard products.
With an eye firmly on efficiency, high standards and new opportunities, the Linnell family is not shy of investment across their entire business. A new 8,000ft2 trade and retail centre was built in 2013, and meets every need of the working professional and home improvement enthusiast.
On nearby land owned by the company, they have also obtained special planning permission for an 8,000ft2 unique and appealing timber Eco-House. This unique self-build project has been co-ordinated by land agent Howkins & Harrison and the land, planning permission and plans will go on the market in May. The designs for this innovative timber house incorporate impressive features such as cedar roofing shingles and glulam beams. “It’s a rare place, and it will make a special home,” says John Linnell.
The company has also diversified into premium lifestyle country clothing and footwear with the launch of Linnell Countrywear, with a fresh and spacious showroom also housed on the Linnell Bros Northampton site.
In July this year, the company will develop a further acre of ground space with a 30,000ft2 dry store, creating space for more machining workshops and timber products, and more expansion is on the way.
“Together, with Lonza and Tweddle Engineering, we make a good team,” says John Linnell. “We’re a professional family company and we strive for the highest standards in compliance and best practice. We’ve worked with Lonza since 2000 and they always support us and keep us updated with the latest information. With the quality and capacity for treated timber we now have, we are on track to really push the business forward.”