How a micro-sized company is making it smart for their business

Scottish SME invests in new machinery after Make it Smart and BE-ST support through the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF)

Project In Use

Alex and Robert, founders of 7-22 Systems, are two experienced architects based on the Isle of Benbecula who connected with us to help upscale their manufacturing and construction business


The architects had designed a pre-insulated modular system that builds panels to fit together like Lego, starting from the floors all the way through to the roof.


They believe their system, which gained funding from Highlands and Islands Enterprise in 2021, could change the way buildings are made. They are passionate about sustainability and building fabric first: they use OSB produced locally in Inverness, they insulate with recycled newsprint, and their standard components are cut from one sheet with almost no waste.


Using methods with a low impact on the land around, architectural flexibility and fast construction on-site, they are addressing challenges that are crucial to building in the Highlands and Islands.


Working with the Make it Smart Hub and BE-ST to help take our manufacturing to the next level Alex Durie
Director, 7-22 Systems

Moving away from pure manual manufacturing


With such quick construction, they had to look at the speed and accuracy of their manufacturing. At the time they used a manual process of cutting out their templates for the prefabrication of the pre-insulated components.


Having proved the concept of their process, 7-22 did not have the capability to manufacture more robust, long-lasting templates and assembly tables.


In order to be able to deliver their commercial system with success, the company had to produce at a quicker speed and reap the full benefits of manufacturing offsite. They also needed further production efficiencies to be made and each part of the production process to be scaled up and refined.


This is when 7-22 Systems teamed up with BE-ST and the Make it Smart Hub, to gain input on the right materials to be used and to provide knowledge and machining capabilities.


The project was funded by AMCF Make it Smart Hub to develop machine-manufactured templates to improve 7-22 Systems Ltd’s current workshop and process.


Material and machinery: a reasoned solution


The team sat down and discussed 7-22 Systems exact needs and scoped out the requirements to deliver what 7-22 Systems were looking to get from the project.


After discussions, the proposed solution for the cutting templates was to use Polyethelene PE1000 which is very robust and enables a frictionless surface for a handheld router. It was also compatible with the CNC machines in the BE-ST workshop which enabled 7-22 to share CAD files for the cutting to be undertaken by BE-ST to the fine tolerance required.


For the assembly tables, a very robust composite board, Valchromat, was chosen to give longevity and fine tolerance to the finished product. 7-22 liaised remotely with BE-ST throughout to finalise the cutting requirements and undertake the production of the templates and table.

Working with the amazing machinery that BE-ST have got on site in Hamilton to look at how we can cut this out really efficiently and deliver real time savings for us in our workshop Alex Durie
Director, 7-22 Systems

The templates were completed by the CNC router and sent up to 7-22 System’s workshop for Ronald John, their head fabricator, to use and implement semi-automated routing tables.


7-22 Systems went onto invest in their own CNC machine. With the help of the Make it Smart Hub, 7-22 systems went from using a fully manual, time intensive process to now a semi-automated one.


The outputs from this AMCF project have enabled 7-22 to make tangible improvements to their production process in production time and the quality of the outputs.


This is a living example of a Scottish SME improving their manufacturing capabilities through the support of the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF) backed project.


Their work with the Make it Smart Hub has helped them also spread the word about their business, speaking at an event chaired by John MacKenzie of Highlands and Islands Enterprise Innovation, and at ‘The challenges & solutions for island & rural housing construction’ webinar held by BE-ST.

Lego House
Project In Use 2
Project In Use 3
BE-ST brought organisation, funding know-how and a real interest in what 7-22 were looking to achieve to the project. Each part of the team is engaged in the process of assisting SME innovation, and they wear their knowledge lightly, looking to help an organisation not dictate to them. 7-22 is looking forward to collaborating more with BE-ST as we continue our journey. Alex Durie
Director, 7-22 Systems
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • BE-ST
  • Make it Smart Hub
  • 7-22 Systems
  • Fraser Architecture