Siemens divides neat and gritty plant functions with a long wall of PortaMax
Customer: Siemens Electromechanical Components, Inc.
Location: Marion, Kentucky
Application: Installation of 270’ long x graduated 21’-24’ tall modular building to reconfigure the entire plant.
Product: PortaMax XTRA TALL Wall
Special Needs: Keep contaminates away from sensitive machinery while retaining a clean, high-tech look.
Siemens, a manufacturer of intricate electrical components, relays and circuit-boards for automotive and other industries, was giving itself a strategic facelift to prepare itself for a bright future. One of the results of this shift was rearranging the plants for more efficient and cleaner manufacturing.
Keeping and enlarging their automated operations at the 110,000 square foot facility in Marion, Kentucky, meant moving many of their manual assemblies to another of their four locations. The few labor-intensive jobs remaining in Marion had to be segregated from the sensitive robotic equipment taking over much of the plant.
As opposed to building a cleanroom, Siemens needed to create an environment to isolate the contaminate-producing functions. And for an evolving company like Siemens, keeping a high-tech image was nearly as important as ensuring world-class operations.
Donnie Corley, tooling manager at Siemens, commented on the strategic reorganization of the plants, “The way the plant was set up didn’t fit, so we decided to make a move to make it fit. We divided our plant up to move our manual assemblies and our support group across the hall.”
Systematically separating the sound, dust and the other contaminants from the automated equipment was a lot more difficult than just packing up and crossing the hall. Siemens had to make sure that the “hallway,” or division, stretched the length of a 270-foot area and reached a 21-foot ceiling cluttered with joists, pipes and hoses.
With the help of PortaFab’s distributor, it was determined that the PortaMax XTRA TALL wall system was the solution needed to meet Siemens’ complex specifications. The PortaMax advanced design provided the flexibility to effectively divide Siemens’ plant with its pre-engineered panels which were customized to fit around the existing obstructions. And its nonprogressive construction provides modularity for easy expansion or alteration to fit Siemens’ future needs.
Corley says the plant previously had purchased other PortaFab products from their distributor, so they already knew and trusted PortaFab’s high-quality, modular-construction products.
Siemens had considered drywall and looked at a few different modular options before making their decision. But, Corley says, “PortaFab had the quality, the service and the overall look so we went with them. They were more high-tech, more flexible and offered a better value. We could add to or reconfigure their system as our needs change. The modular building also has excellent sound-reduction and non-combustibility that other options don’t provide. They had just what we were looking for, so it was an easy decision to go with PortaFab.”
The PortaMax pre-engineered panels arrived ready for fast and easy installation with minimal plant disruption which was important to ensure continuous flow of operations in the facility.
The sheer size of the project required consistency of appearance – such as uniformity of panels and windows – that is not achievable with drywall or other competitive modular systems. “Siemens wanted a clean, non-dated look,” according to our distributor. “They figured a high-tech company should look high-tech. And that is exactly what they got with PortaFab.”
It is difficult to put a price on the new, clean look, Corley says, but it definitely is worth a lot. “We have many more customers visiting us now since we moved the manual assemblies out. Automotive people like to come in and look. And everyone who comes into the plant is very complimentary of the appearance of the structure.”
The PortaFab wall system also makes the new plant configuration more efficient. “The layout of the plant improves the material flow several times,” says Corley. “Material comes in and goes straight from one department to another. It’s been a complete turnaround in the plant.
The success of the PortaMax system already has led to more PortaFab purchases since the original project was completed. Corley says Siemens has added more enclosures from PortaFab and they continue to take advantage of PortaMax’s modular expandability.