Moving to Norbar’s fourth factory
One of the things about getting old is that you remember stuff from long ago. As we started packing our boxes at Beaumont Road we found an original blueprint of the 1965 alterations to our first building in North Bar Place. It brought back memories of that first premises. I can shut my eyes and see the stairs up to the offices, with Grandfathers office at the top on the left and the general office a few steps down to the right where my father Ian worked. That memory made me wonder what Grandfather would have thought of the new building.
Size: Of course that is probably the starting point. The first building was about 1000 sq. feet (100 sq. m) but it is more relevant to consider the change from the old Beaumont Road site of 55,000 sq. feet compared with the 120,000 sq. feet of the new Wildmere Road building. We are coming to terms with the larger building and it only takes 3 minutes of brisk walking to get from one end to the other. The benefit of size is that we can be more organised in material flow and have space for some of the new process development that we have planned.
The first two buildings were not particularly light places to work in. I remember our second building at Swan Close having a very dark machine shop when I worked there in the summer of 75. The new building by contrast is amazing. We deliberately put plenty of translucent sky lights in place to give natural light and to further increase the energy efficiency, the LED lighting is not only motion triggered but will only come on if the light levels are low.
Environment: Following on from our experience with the first phase of the move four years ago, we have used air source heat pumps to control the temperature of the entire internal space. This has benefits not only for the employees, but also for the machine tools which are more accurate when at a constant temperature. Again this is rather different from North Bar Place where heating was a luxury and the coolant in the machine tools froze during the winter. They used to light fires under the swarf tray of the lathes to get the coolant flowing first thing in the morning.
A place to eat: Grandfather enjoyed his food and hopefully he would approve of the new restaurant area. The domestic kitchen cooker and Formica serving table from Swan Close has given way to a suite of stainless steel and a gorgeous multi-function cooker that allows small batches of beautiful food to be produced quickly. A dream for a lean practitioner!
That really brings us back to what we have done and why. We believe that we have one of the best dedicated torque tool production facilities in the world. We will now use the factory to create processes that allow small batches of beautiful torque tools to be produced quickly.