There was more work and time required following the move to the new testing centre at MANN+HUMMEL headquarters in Ludwigsburg than you might initially assume. In my last post, I told you about just how much time the planning of the move alone had required and how we took on the challenges of our relocation. Today, I would like to pick up where we left off and explain how we moved over 100 test benches to our new location.
Optimal usage of space
Our workplace in the new testing centre can be imagined a little like this: Power lines run around 3.5 metres above our heads, connecting up the individual test benches, besides pipes to supply the test benches with cooling water. The oils, nitrogen, diesel and white spirit used on our test benches are transported directly to the testing facilities from a central storage area for hazardous substances in the basement of the testing centre, allowing us to work with significantly enhanced storage and logistics. In the hallway stands a spacious storage lift, with compartments packed full with devices and accessories, which can be accessed by employees from a total of three floors – an innovative system that saves an enormous amount of space! Allow me to remind you that we are talking about four floors and over 100 test benches here, so every square metre counts! It always delights me to see how well our planning has been implemented in reality and how efficiently the new testing centre has been designed. The routing of the various lines on the ceiling on the different levels, for instance, took weeks of meticulous planning – all of which have paid off!
The new structure does not just afford a better layout of our test benches – our working methods have been enhanced too. By shortening paths, in future we will also be able to adapt our work on the spot and organise it even more effectively.
Coordination and concentration
This project has been built on the foundation of teamwork: As well as me, my colleagues and the testing facility employees, other, perhaps less obvious, departments also had a role to play. We worked, for example, with the PM, Logistics and Occupational Safety departments, ensuring that the right contact was on hand in the event of problems or difficulties. And our suppliers were involved too, as some parts, such as the measuring pipes of our air filter test benches, had to be adapted for assembly in their new home in the new testing centre. In this particular case, it meant that the pipes had to be installed vertically in the new location, rather than horizontally as they had been before. This brought an additional advantage, as we were able to save a significant amount of space that could be put to another good use. We planned out the adaptation of individual elements so that whenever a new part was delivered, we were able to send another off for disassembly. Thanks to a wealth of meetings and open communication with our suppliers, this went totally smoothly.
If you read my first post, you will already know just how difficult it was to get the test benches out of the old building. Well, a similar challenge awaited us in the new building too, because, as I mentioned before, here our testing facilities are split across four floors. The majority of our equipment was able to fit in the lift and could be easily taken to the right floor, but in the case of just three test benches the 3.50 m x 2.20 m lift was too tight a squeeze – something we had already recognised before the testing centre had even been built! This meant that we had a long time to think about the problem and we actually brought our solution with us to the new building: All of the levels here have double doors on the outer walls, around which the façade can be removed. So our crane was called into action once more and we transported the test benches to the right floors and the right spots using heavy-duty rollers and a bit of elbow grease.
Then came the time to reassemble the individual parts of the disassembled test benches. We took this opportunity to once again position the equipment optimally within the new infrastructure, exploiting all the benefits for the long term. Piece by piece, we positioned the test benches according to our installation plan and the distribution throughout the new building began to take shape. Believe me, I was pleased to see all the test benches in their intended place without a single accident taking place.
We have since tidied up all of our moving boxes and the last of the test benches have now made it to the new location. After all of this strenuous work and the constant consideration that nothing could be forgotten, there was just one thing left on the agenda for me: inspecting our test benches. This primarily meant checking the interfaces with our infrastructure – have electricity lines and lines for exhaust air and waste water, for example, been connected correctly and are they working as intended? We also worked on the commissioning of the building technology alongside expert planners and the property department. Once my team and I had checked all of the components and ironed out any minor issues, we handed the operational test benches back into the capable hands of the relevant test facilities heads, who then validated the test benches. Now it’s back to day-to-day work for us all: back to testing our products under realistic conditions!