John Brash & Co has invested £500,000 in a new computerised scanning technology.

Roofing battens make up around half of the family firm’s business, which also manufactures shingles, shakes, scaffold boards and commercial anti-slip decking. The new scanning technology will be used to automatically assess every JB Red batten for potential weaknesses in the wood, such as knots.

“No one else in the UK uses this kind of scanning technology,” said finance director Neil Hill. “It will double the speed at which we are able to grade our battens and boost capacity by 10 to 15% this year.

“Last year, around half of the battens we sold were JB Red. We expect that to increase to 70%. Factory-graded batten sales were up 15% last year because of increased activity in the housing market and we expect a similar jump this year.”

The new investment was supported by a £7m invoice discounting line from Lloyds Bank Commercial Finance.