Even as our new coating technology system is being installed in the Zephyr Hangar production facility, we’re already working on our next construction project: as part of the Technology Cluster Zug (TCZ), the Zephyr West high-rise, which will house the V-ZUG offices and testing laboratories, is set to be completed by 2026.
The Zephyr Hangar was completed in 2019 and the different production areas have become operational step by step since then. Since March 2021, on the second floor of the hangar, work has been underway to install our new coating technology system, the new enamelling plant which will apply our TopClean coating.
Ergonomic, economical, sustainable
The new plant can produce all enamel parts in batches of any size on a single hanger, economically, traceably and with short throughput times, high quality outcomes, and the need for only a single coating process. Thanks to the recovery of waste heat, the whole system is extremely energy efficient and ecologically responsible. The ergonomic challenges of the initial hanging and of rehanging have been overcome as this is now done robotically. Now the material flow begins at the muffle welding cell and continues throughout the whole system, which is later directly connected to the assembly line via a decoupling buffer. Delivery of the different sections of the system, some very large and bulky, was coordinated by the general contractor ASIS GmbH, and required over 50 lorry loads. The opening on the southern side of the hangar and the goods lift were used to move the construction materials into the second floor by crane.
Project manager Roland Häfliger is happy: “We’ve now got 95% of the entire plant installed, with connection and commissioning ahead of us. The enamelling oven is the heart of the plant and features several layers of coating for a total insulation depth of 350 mm. The next steps are to connect the media and commission the individual sections of the plant. We expect that once commissioned and approved, the new coating technology system will be fully operational as of October 2021.”
Planning for the next steps in the construction of the Zephyr West building is also underway. Zephyr West will house V-ZUG departments that are currently scattered across various buildings on the V-ZUG site. Some of the offices have seen better days, and there is a lack of development space.
Around 14,000 m2 of new offices and laboratories are planned for Zephyr West. In addition, almost 1,000 m2 will be used to create a new infrastructure for vocational training. Daniela Arnold, the new project manager representing V-ZUG, has mainly been tasked with planning the interiors with the aim of networking employees as well as possible. One important working tool for Daniela Arnold is the Proximity Map. “All departments were asked which other departments they work with the most”, says Arnold. “This highlighted needs that we are now in the process of analysing.” For example, it became apparent that Product Management has to communicate with a lot of other departments – and this should also be perceived in spatial terms. “It is also clear that there should be one IT desk that everyone can access”, says Arnold. The aim is for communication routes in Zephyr West to be given physical space as well, thus promoting efficient collaboration.
The V-ZUG laboratory in Zephyr West will cover around 2,500 m2. “This will provide space for appliance tests, for which whole rows of appliances will be set up and service life tests conducted”, says Daniela Arnold. The laboratory already exists but requires more space. What’s more, it needs to be cleared by 2026, as the TCZ will use the entire southern site for a further residential and industrial development.
Workstations of the future
One important topic when designing the interior of Zephyr West is also the way in which workstations are structured. From personal desks and individual offices to shared desks – currently, all options are on the table. It is important, however, that every employee has a “base”. Daniela Arnold states that she wishes to lend an open ear to employees. “Some enjoy working from home, while others long to get back into an office with a workstation following the coronavirus pandemic”, she explains. “I will now hold discussions with departments to find out their needs.” The important thing is not to jump on trends, but to try and find solutions for V-ZUG which also “bring about good results in the long term and are of benefit to employees”.
Connected for all
Zephyr West should be occupied in 2026. Construction will start around 2 years before that. “It’s quite a tight schedule”, says Daniela Arnold, “but when the building is up it will have a great networking function for a lot of employees. That’s something we can all look forward to.”