50 Years Ago: Factory Design

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50 Years Ago Contemporary Factory Design – some notable examples H. J. HEINZ COMPANY’S Column spacing of 48 ft. by 16 ft. was adopted in the lower KITT GREEN FACTORY NEAR WIGAN LANCASHIRE production floor and steel plate girders having a depth of about This is the Commonwealth's largest food processing plant covering 4 ft. were used to span in the 48-ft. direction, the top flanges being an area of 130 acres and with a total floor space of 833,600 sq. used to support the decking of the mezzanine floor, the lower ft. Designed and built for the H. J. Heinz Co. Ltd., who have flanges supporting the ceiling of the lower floor. One hundred and been manufacturing food products in England since 1905, it was eighty such girders were used, a feature of them being the 2 ft. 9 completed last year (1959) and when operating at full capacity in. diameter holes through the webs to allow easy access for ducts employs 3,000 personnel. to pass through. The architects, J. Douglass Mathews & Partners of London, The storage section of the main building is of two storeys with designed a factory notable for its flexibility. This attribute was a flat roof. Height of ground floor storey is 27 ft.: the flat roof is of quite essential, due primarily to the fact that so many different metal decking on a steel framework: Castella beams were used for varieties of food are produced in the factory with varying outputs. the highly loaded large spans. Consideration had to be given to the possibility of changing Working in association with J. Douglass Mathews & Partners certain features in the factory both during and after erection. The were Skidmore, Owings and Merill of New York. Consulting full effect of this naturally could not be foreseen but alterations in Structural Engineers were R. T. James & Partners. design were obliged to be carried out during the time of erection and the foresight shown by the architects meant that these changes FORD MOTOR COMPANY LTD could be effected with a minimum of trouble and inconvenience. PAINT TRIM & ASSEMBLY PLANT, DAGENHAM These is little doubt that the choice of steel as the structural This building cost £10,000,000 and formed the last major part medium assisted in achieving this flexibility of action. Some 8,000 of an expansion programme launched by the Ford Company in tons were used in the factory structure. It is interesting to note 1954. The complete programme cost £75,000,000, contributed that the factory was originally designed as a reinforced concrete an additional 3,000,000 sq. ft. of floor space and almost trebled building, but the steelwork contractors were able to put in a better the company’s fixed assets. It has been anticipated that this year price for the work. will see the labour force exceed 50,000 and the 1954 capacity The architects recommended two-storey construction as being doubled. advantageous from many points of view, though the Production The new paint, trim and assembly building provides 1,402,000 Building shows a variation from this in that a mezzanine floor was sq. ft. of floor area and was in fact the hardest single project in the introduced: into this floor were canalised all the administrative expansion programme. Car bodies are received in this building and service functions so leaving large areas of uninterrupted floor by means of an overhead conveyor bridge. After painting and space on the upper and lower floors. furnishing they pass to the final assembly area to meet engines, transmissions and other components from the main plant. It is of Right: Raw materials store. two storeys with the paint shop on the first floor and the trim and Note the extensive assembly shop on the second floor. use of castellated beams. This was clearly a project where first class team work would be the deciding factor in getting the building finished and working in the shortest possible time. So it turned out and structural steelwork made its customary notable contribution to this speed in erection. The formidable task of erecting 15,000 tons of steelwork for the main building, together with ancillary structures, was completed in ten months – six weeks ahead of schedule. Within four months of commencing the steelwork there were on site 2,500 tons of fabricated beams, lattice girders and stanchions ready to be lifted into position. Six 10-ton, 110-ft. jib, bogie-mounted electric Scotch derricks were built in two lines three abreast, facing each other accross the width of the building. In erecting the steelwork one line moved east from the centre point, the other west, on steel bridging girders supported on the stanchion pile capped foundations. The bolting gang used 250,000 bolts to secure the connections and tightened them to a predetermined torque by pneumatic powered wrenches. Two 7-ton 75-ft. jib, diesel-engined mobile cranes erected the 34 October 10NSC


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