“I would like to thank everyone involved”December 2018
The COMPETENCE FACTORY opened around a year and a half ago. The state-of-the-art production building is a good example of how digitization and automation have found their way into industry. For BINDER, however, the primary purpose of the EUR 12 million investment was to demonstrate its commitment to Tuttlingen as its sole production location. Thomas Luippold, the COMPETENCE FACTORY project manager, takes stock in the following interview.
COMPETENCE FACTORY interview:
Mr. Luippold, the COMPETENCE FACTORY (CF) was gradually put into operation around a year and a half ago. How would you sum up the experience?
Thomas Luippold: We ramped up production in the COMPETENCE FACTORY bit by bit. In total, we achieved over 30 percent more plant output in 2018 compared to the year before. We are proud of that – it's an excellent result that we can build on. Moving the weld shop and the bending system that was connected to the STOPA warehouse into the CF presented us with another major challenge after the opening. Overall, however, we were able to execute the whole project – the construction of the CF and putting it into operation – at a rapid pace, which I am delighted about. Everyone really pulled together – that's the only reason we were able to manage it without any major problems. I'm extremely grateful to everyone involved and I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of them.
Were there really no difficulties during the construction of the CF?
Luippold: Not really. That was down to our forward planning and the experienced project team. We started by producing a large-scale master plan and then broke it down into smaller elements. We brought in external experts as a precaution for the critical stages of work. I am also pleased that we decided to put the project out to tender with four architectural firms before settling on RSE in Kassel. Furthermore, we selected and appointed all of the construction firms ourselves.
You have been able to optimize your processes. Could you give us some figures?
Luippold: There are currently around 45 people employed at the CF. Three to four shuttles leave the CF every day to take materials either to the LEAN FACTORY or to our painter. And 2,200 metric tons of sheet metal and stainless steel are processed every year. The STOPA warehouse has around 700 storage locations and 100 to 120 loading operations take place every day to load the systems connected to the warehouse.
Which other buildings did you use as a model?
Luippold: We visited a number of other companies. But there is only one CF – no other building is like ours. The CF is unique and is perfectly tailored to BINDER. The style and color composition are based on the Research and Development Center (FEZ). You can see that in the long windows, for example. We have utilized the maximum width of the site and can expand the building in all directions in a flexible, modular manner. The master plan covers a plot area of 42,800 square meters, and the building is twelve meters tall.
Were you able to stay within your budget?
Luippold: Yes, we budgeted for EUR 12 million and were able to remain on budget.
What are the next steps?
Luippold: We already have a building permit for a further 2,500 square meters. We will be adding this production space to the CF in the near future. We also want to establish the new layout for the boiler construction facilities and the foam facility in 2019. Both of these areas are going to move into the CF extensions.
During planning and construction, did you ever have the feeling that you wouldn't get it all done in time?
Luippold: No, actually I didn't. I didn't have any sleepless nights over the project either, thankfully! Once we got started, there was no way back.
When Mr. Binder asked if you would take on the project, did it take you long to agree?
Luippold: Honestly, no. And anyone who knows Mr. Binder will know that he wouldn't have waited long for an answer anyway. (Luippold laughs).