On 13th September 2019 Plant 4 on the north-western side of the plant site opened its doors to all BLANK employees. Throughout the day, Oliver Mulder, Thomas Hofmann and Markus Kloker from the area of mechanical processing and assembly (MB&MO) offered guided tours to learn more about the hall and its construction concept.
The ground-breaking ceremony on 14th May 2018 marked the beginning of the construction of a digitalised, new working environment for the mechanical processing and assembly areas which was completed in spring 2019 and then successively occupied. "Plant 4 is seen within the company as a beacon project on the way to the Digital Factory. Production lines were built on a floor space of 3600 m² on which man and robot work hand in hand," explains Oliver Mulder, Head of MB&MO at BLANK. In addition, during implementation, care was taken to save unnecessary paths and simplify processes. For example, between the mechanical processing and assembly areas there is an approximately one meter high sluice through which material can be transported from one area to the next on trolleys.
In general, the subject of material flow played a major role in the design of the 90-metre long and 35-metre wide hall. "There are two points of contact for forklifts in the front and rear areas of the hall," describes Markus Kloker during the tour. "In this way we ensure that the stack truck can act quickly and flexibly". In the past, the forklift always first had to clear the loading ramp with the finished material in order to be able to park the parts to be processed. Thanks to the construction solution with two starting points each, the process can now be carried out in almost half the time.
The hall impresses with a modern construction concept that takes many eventualities into account. "In terms of construction we made sure that the building could also be used for other departments if necessary," says Mulder. The concrete pillars, for example, are designed in a way that an overhead crane could be installed at a later date if needed. It is also noticeable that the hall is flooded with light through generous window fronts and ceiling hatches, creating a pleasant working atmosphere.
For Hubert Deutsch the new hall lays the foundation for the future orientation of the BLANK Group. "We have to change if we want to survive in the market. The new hall opens up many opportunities for us to reorganize existing work processes." In the next step, the space which became free through the relocation of this department, can be used for the expansion of further production areas.