Optics Balzers plans new building to consolidate operations

Optics Balzers has approved a major investment program worth over US$14.5 million. By the spring of 2012, all activities at the current site in Iramali will be moved to a new state-of-the-art building.

The board of directors of Optics Balzers (Balzers, Liechtenstein) has approved a major investment program worth over US$14.5 million. By the spring of 2012, all activities at the site in Iramali will be moved to Neugrüt 33 in Balzers, into a new state-of-the-art building.

Optics Balzers focuses on selected markets such as sensors and imaging, biophotonics, space and defence, lighting and projection, and industrial applications. Its products and services range from optical thin-film coatings, glass processing, patterning, and sealing technologies to optical subassemblies. The company has about 170 employees.

Some production lines have already been transferred to Neugrüt 35 in order to optimize processes. The planned new building structure will be erected on an adjacent property, and the existing building will be remodeled to create a cutting-edge overall industrial complex. The concentration of all value chains underneath a single roof will generate numerous benefits and synergies.

The company says that the building project will show the direction for the further growth of the as yet young business. Thus, the vision of merging all Optics Balzers’ units underneath a single roof has turned into a reality. According to Alex Vogt, CEO of Optics Balzers, the concentration of all development, production, materials management, warehousing, and administration activities in a single new industrial complex tailored to the company’s specific needs will boost productivity by at least 20%.

“Entire industries have been relocated to low-wage countries for cost reasons. But we have very close ties to Balzers and will remain here and at our site in Jena, Germany to create new jobs. But in order to maintain our edge over our Asian competitors, we must become more systematic in focusing on the needs of our sophisticated customers worldwide,” says Vogt, outlining the strategic goals of the company.

He added that to retain its technological leadership and to be active at the very forefront, permanent modernization is a prerequisite for any high-tech business. As a consequence, individual production lines were moved for optimizing their processes to Neugrüt 35 as early as 2009. The shuttle service set up for moving people and material between the two sites is substantial and cost-intensive.

Domestic economy stands to benefit
The permit for constructing the production and administration buildings in Neugrüt 33 has recently been obtained from the building authorities of the Principality of Liechtenstein. In the course of the next year and a half, a new building will be erected at Neugrüt 33, which will gradually be merged with the existing production building on the adjacent property into an overall building complex.

The total useful surface area of the new Optics Balzers company headquarters covers 7,200 square meters, and the capital investment will amount to about US$14.5 million. A considerable share of contracts for constructing the building will be awarded to local companies so that also the region will benefit from the project.

The industrial building will be planned and built by ITW Ingenieurunternehmung AG, Balzers, on the basis of the latest technical and ecological standards. The complex technical installations must satisfy extremely rigorous requirements, for example with regard to air conditioning. The entire building complex will be clad with a special outside plastic paneling. On the one hand, this will reflect sunlight from the building and on the other hand provide thermal insulation toward the inside.

Energy recovery is a very important consideration for Optics Balzers. Most of the buildings’ heating requirements will be covered by energy recovered from the production processes. This will slash gas consumption by as much as 90 %. Consumption of fresh water, which has also been high up to now, will be cut by about 70 % because water will no longer be needed to cool the production systems. Additional cost savings will be achieved on the basis of design changes and fine-tuning of all material streams and inventory management.

SOURCE: Optics Balzer

Posted by Vision Systems Design

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