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TRUSS MANUFACTURER LEADS THE WAY WITH ROBOTIC PLANT

Washington's Louws Truss has taken another step into the future by building one of only a few robotic roof truss assembly plants in the U.S.

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Founded in 1952 by John Louws Sr., Louws Truss has served Washington State as a truss manufacturer for over 70 years. Under the leadership of third-generation owner B.J. Louws, the company has maintained its position as an industry leader with a focus on technology. John Louws Sr. began manufacturing wall panels and roof trusses in the 1970s, the early days of component manufacturing.

B.J. Louws has taken another step into the future by working with House of Design to build one of only a few robotic roof truss assembly plants in the United States. Installed in 2022, the robotic roof truss line concept is not new: the basics have been in place since 2013 and BJ and his team have tried and tested new processes regularly, always adhering to lean manufacturing principles.

Even prior to the installation of the robotic system, Louws was pursuing continuous improvement and eliminating waste at all times. “One of the differences between an old process and an improved process is that we used to touch a piece of lumber 14 times and now we touch it between four and five, depending on the product mix. It was both more efficient and less impactful on people.”

“We are a third-generation company that wants to become a fourth and fifth generation company and people make that happen. We are trying to build a company where people can build their careers,” Louws says.

“People and culture and innovation all go hand-in-hand,” Louws says. “With the right culture and team all pulling in the same direction, we are able to constantly pursue innovation. The team members are a big part of our success.”

Investments made in robotics and automation and a commitment to lean manufacturing helps Louws Truss avoid some of the pain points experienced by the industry, such as the skilled labor shortage and avoiding injuries.

Louws Truss is looking forward to replicating the success of its robotic roof truss assembly plant with a new robotic floor truss line in the coming years. With plants in Burlington, Cashmere, Ferndale and Lacey, Wa., Louws has been a member of LMC since 2006.

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