Standing Tall: Pryda Celebrates 50 Years In Building

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Pryda, the company who revolutionised the building industry by inventing the steel angle brace, Claw® Nail nailplates, and world-leading truss design software, is turning 50 and celebrating with a retrospective look at its journey as a world-leading producer of timber truss and frame solutions – from technology to innovation.

“Pryda is an integral part of the building industry in Australia. We’ve succeeded for 50 years by continuing to innovate, develop and move with the times. It’s fascinating to look back on how our industry has changed over this time, and how our business has too,” says Pryda General Manager, Mr Paul Gaiardo.

Builder, Ray Turner, launched Pryda in New Zealand in 1964 (then known as AR Turner & Company), pioneering the design and manufacture of timber joining connectors to simplify timber construction. He sent his son, Daryl, to establish the business in Australia in 1970. Pryda is now a trusted brand on building sites, in trade stores and in the offices of architects, engineers and designers.

Mr Gaiardo says that back when Pryda was founded, Australia’s population was around 11 million1 and 105,2202 new homes were being built each year.

Today, the country’s population has boomed to more than 23 million and in 2013 more than 147,000 new dwellings were built to keep up with the rising demand for housing.

“It’s hard to imagine now, but back when Pryda began in the 1960s, our engineers didn’t even have calculators to work with, let alone computers. Both didn’t appear until the 1970s so our business and our famous truss accessories were built on the skill of manual techniques and calculations,” says Mr Gaiardo.

He says that in the late 1960s and early 1970s, truss requests would be sent to the Pryda design office and an engineer would carry out the calculations manually using a slide-rule and drawing board. It could take several hours for one truss to be designed, which was then drawn up and posted to the fabricator.

Above: The Slide Rule

Today, the company’s ‘Pryda Build’ software means a truss can be designed, costed and assembly instructions produced in a matter of seconds (once architectural plan information has been inputted).

“Part of our success as a business has been a commitment to adopting new technology early and with passion, to find ways it can improve our offerings and the work of our customers. This extends from our engineers developing small programs for calculators in the 1970s to reduce repetitive calculation and error, to our modern Pryda Build software that bundles roof trusses, wall framing, floor trusses and various framing components into an integrated suite,” Mr Gaiardo says.

“Another example includes the release of our Pryda Computa-Roof software in 1992. For the very first time in the history of our industry, it allowed fabricators to obtain designs for non-standard trusses, based on first principles and not look-ups. This software went on to receive an Australian Design Award.
“It also supported the industry by adopting changes in Australian design and loading standards, which occurred every five years or so, saving engineers an enormous amount of time.”

Pryda today continues to use world-best technology to provide a total systems package to its licensed truss and frame plants, including fully integrated software and production systems, access to world leading manufacturing equipment, and the highest levels of technical support.

“Building is part of the great Australian dream and Pryda is about supporting that vision by helping achieve efficiencies in the building process – saving time and money,” says Mr Gaiardo.

“Our longevity suggests we’re meeting this need. For example, when Pryda launched in Australia, there were 40 nailplate manufacturers worldwide; today there are only around 12. So we can be proud of our achievement in a competitive industry that relies on investing in expensive and ongoing software development.”

After a series of mergers and takeovers that began in 1986, Pryda is today part of the international corporation Illinois Tool Works (ITW), taking advantage of pooled knowledge and resources in what has become a very sophisticated industry based on computer technology. It means the company can pursue further innovation and transform the dreams of founder, Ray Turner, into a lasting legacy.

1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/
2. Housing Industry Association (HIA) – new home completion per year in Australia

Standing Tall Slide rule photo
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