As a general rule we ignore rules. Especially those rules that start with “don’t”
However, when we were told not to photograph inside USM’s new powder coating facility at their Münsingen HQ, we did as we were told. For fear that had we not one of the new robotic arms would have picked us up and dispatched us on a Willie Wonka-esque punishment journey leaving us permanently coated in one of USM’s 14 colours.
Built at a cost of some 20 Million Swiss Francs the new USM powder coating facility was formally unveiled at the beginning of February 2014 and not only promises to increase the firm’s powder coating capacity by some 30% – and thus by extrapolation help increase the company’s total productivity – but also, according to USM’s own figures, will reduce the energy demand of the powder coating process by 30%, including a saving of some 300 litres of gas a day.
Housed in a newly constructed 4125 sqm subterranean space burrowed beneath the existing Fritz Haller buildings, the new facility is fully computer controlled, comprises 2kms of rails divided over two production lines, incorporates four spray cabinets and can powder coat around 7000 sqm of steel per day. Which, and without wanting to turn this into a maths lesson, means that every day it can powder coat enough panels for 1000 USM Haller sideboard Ls, 1350 USM Haller highboard Ms or 800 USM Haller filling cabinets.1,2 Assuming that is they are required without doors…..
Quite aside from the almost hypnotic majesty of watching the robots go about their business what particularly pleases us about the new facility is that it has been so thoughtfully, and ultimately effortlessly, fitted in to Fritz Haller’s existing layout for the site and so maintains the geometry, harmony and integrity of the Münsingen complex.
Keeps everything somehow “real”.
A few impressions (all photos courtesy of USM – we’d given our camera to the Oompa Loompas, just in case we were tempted…..)
1. Assuming we’ve got our maths right. There is no guarantee.
2. Note: This is “panels for” not units per se. They still have to be constructed by hand and finished according to the customers individual wishes……..