Canadian Plastics

Preplanning The Perfect Relocation

Murphy's Law -- whatever can go wrong, will -- is probably never truer than when applied to a move. So when it comes to relocating your manufacturing plant -- when millions of dollars in valuable equi...

November 1, 2009   By Garry Moore, Matcom Industrial Installations Inc.



Murphy’s Law — whatever can go wrong, will — is probably never truer than when applied to a move. So when it comes to relocating your manufacturing plant — when millions of dollars in valuable equipment needs to be moved damage-free, on time and within a prepared budget — expert advice and assistance are vital to success.

Too often, processors leave the planning of their relocation until too late, trusting the move to the lowest price provider. Ironically, this can turn out to be the most expensive route of all, since there are likely to be last minute things that need to be planned and negotiated. The successful move is one that has been arranged early through selecting a machinery mover with a proven track record, and then entering into a collaborative agreement whereby a free estimate is provided and a budget set and agreed to.

MAKE A CHECKLIST

The mover’s project managers will provide a step-by-step checklist of planning points to make the job as smooth as possible, and accept the responsibility of the move from start to finish. This should include: draining of oil, electrical and mechanical disconnects/ reconnects, removal of chiller equipment from the roof (including the closing of roof holes), silo removal and set-up, provincial safety regulation compliance work, commissioning and/or decommissioning and civil work, along with other sub-contract services.

A walk-through of the existing and new plant is also arranged to explore the magnitude of the move.

From years of experience in dealing with a vast array of original equipment manufacturers’ machines, relocation companies like Matcom know, for example, that small machines are designed to be shipped in one piece. Larger machines, or machines with a base in two sections, must be dismantled to conform to axle weights of transport trucks on the pubic highways. Plan ahead for the possibility of problems with really large tonnage injection machines; they need to be dismantled to move.

The walk-through also involves confirming the strength of the new plant floor. Is it strong enough to accommodate the weight of the larger machines? Does it require a new, thicker pad, and if so, will it be completed in time to receive the machine, without affecting a delay in production? Pads can be poured with quick-cure concrete, which will provide the solution, but increase the cost. A fast cure time can be as short as a number of days, but the cheapest and normal cure time is 30 days.

GOOD TIMING

Finally, don’t forget that the timing of the proposed relocation might also be an issue. A thorough preplanning, therefore, will include setting the time frame of the move. Busy times for machinery movers include shutdown times around the first of July, and end of December. A time to avoid moving excessive weight is the months of March and April, a time in Canada and the northern U.S. when frost laws are in effect because the ground is thawing, meaning that heavy loads could damage the roads. During this period, weight restrictions are strictly enforced in all jurisdictions. Failure to comply can result in seizure of the freight and trucking equipment until the weight is reduced, or the restriction is lifted at the end of April. Infractions bring heavy fines.

In the end, this is the expertise you want to be paying for — not mistakes made by someone who doesn’t know what can go wrong, and can’t deal with problems that do arise. Especially in today’s climate, the risks of a poorly planned relocation, based on the cheapest proposal, are simply too great.

Garry Moore is marketing manager of Matcom Industrial Installations Inc., headquartered in Vaughan, Ont. He can be reached at gmoore@matcominstallations.com.


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