Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at AFC-Holcroft’s Reopening

“Following an extensive, nearly yearlong full facility remodel, AFC￾Holcroft held a formal Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony at their World Headquarters building in Wixom, Michigan. In addition to the celebration by the company’s employees, representatives of Berndorf AG were on hand, as were CEO Christian Grosspointner, and CFO Martin Rode from the AICHELIN Group arriving from Austria. Locally, representatives from the City of Wixom, Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce and other invited guests also took the opportunity to join the event. Prior to the actual ceremonial cutting of the ribbon, AFC-Holcroft CEO Bill Disler escorted the guests on a tour of the renovated facility, highlighting the some of the innovative features and environmental improvements incorporated into design.

A main focus of the renovation was to make the building more environmentally friendly, specifically with regard to heating and cooling. The walls of the entire production area were replaced with insulated wall panels, and numerous windows were added to provide more natural light. The roof system was renewed and insulated, and the overhead warehouse doors were also modernized to contribute to the new high efficiency ventilation/heating systems. These measures improve the comfort and general working environment of the building while improving energy efficiency by around 35%. At the same time, investments in IT infrastructure were also made. In the conference rooms throughout the building, new technology was added to support the latest in video conferencing, to improve the security of IT infrastructures, and to create a more seamless work environment. A dedicated testing and development area specific for process control equipment was created, allowing a virtual environment where furnace process control functions can be developed, simulated and tested prior to being deployed in the field.

Individual workstations were redesigned for improved ergonomics and outfitted with motorized desktops to create an option for standing desks. The reception area features an inviting glass encased lobby, and the entire office interior ceiling height was raised to 10 foot. All new décor and creative storage furnishings were purchased, with new cubicle walls topped with glass to give the space a more open look and feel. The interior lighting was replaced by Smart LED lighting, and noise cancelling technology is utilized throughout the offices.

“From the very beginning, every employee had a chance to offer ideas and input into features and details of the facility, and all suggestions and feedback were given thorough consideration,” said Disler. “The positive collaboration between our internal teams, our builder and our interior designer helped us achieve all the objectives in a very short time.” In addition to improving the comfort and energy consumption in the manufacturing areas, the entire production floor and shipping/receiving area were analyzed for improved workflow, and consideration given to improving utilization of stored manufacturing supplies and inventory. Two units of a state-of-the art vertical storage system were ordered to free up additional manufacturing space while improving the storage and ergonomic retrieval of a variety of items.

Even beyond the facility, other areas received attention. In addition to reconfigured parking areas, the property was re-landscaped, and an outside patio was added to offer more opportunity to enjoy nature. The land itself now features a popular bicycle/walking path which integrates into the community’s Metropark system, easily accessed from the front of the property. “Even without the added complications of supply chain disruptions and other issues, it takes a lot of effort to complete a project like this on-time or on-budget, but our teams did both,” Disler said. “As a solid company with over 100 years of forward-thinking history, this investment was about much more than obtaining more space – it also creates a fresh, collaborative and energy-efficient environment both for the current generation and the next to come.”

Disler concluded, “We are very appreciative of the Berndorf and Aichelin Groups for providing the support for these significant updates, and I am very proud of everyone that worked so hard through the many day to-day interruptions in order to make it such a success. It is no surprise that we are very proud of our new facilities”.

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