State of the art...... an understatement
After almost 3 years in the planning and a 2 year construction and implementation period, we are delighted to say that we have now completed the last phase of our very ambitious expansion program.
The whole project started in the middle of 2008 when we decided to expand our production facilities at our Dartford location. The driver behind the decision was the rate of increase in our business generally, plus plans to enter new markets. Customer support and service was also a key factor in our decision to invest in our manufacturing plant. We recognised that with increased market and financial pressures, customers would want better delivery performance from us and it was clear we would not be able to deliver this key aspect to our customers moving forward, without extra production capacity.
This entailed acquiring a new building and equipping it with the necessary infrastructure to allow the significant increase in output predicted. Contractors started on site in October 2008 and set about dividing up the new building into three. A complete new infrastructure including power, water, heating, IT and a massive 240mm gas main were brought into the building. In just under 4 months the construction works were completed and we moved our sheet metal working, our all new semi automatic powder coating plant and silk screen printing departments into the new facility in December 2008.
The next part of the project was to build a clean environment for our Surface Mount production department and move the whole SMD line into the new facility. The line was also expanded with an additional Europlacer Ineo SMD machine added to the line to provide much needed additional capacity. This phase was completed in November 2009 when the SMD line with the new INEO was commissioned by Europlacer engineers.
Planned in two main stages, phase 3 included the installation of the new Oce Arizona, digital UV printing machine. The plan to replace our existing silk screen printing process with a new digital printing process was completed in November 2010 when the Arizona was installed in a purpose built environment within our new facility.
The final and most complicated stage of the project was started in December 2010. This part of the project required the extension of the clean area within the factory to accommodate the remaining elements of our electronic assembly process and moving final assembly of core products from its long term home in our original building on the Questor Trade Park.
Additional electrical infrastructure was installed, including some 1000 sq metres of specialist suspended ceiling, and 10 tons of air conditioning plant to provide a controlled environment for our manufacturing process.
A new high tech ESRA wave soldering machine was commissioned during this phase to further add capacity and enhance quality of our lead free production process. New lean manufacturing systems and techniques were employed during the implementation of this part of the plan which also included the installation of a complete new benching and conveyor system designed to drive efficiencies through the plant.
Phase three was completed on time and on budget in February 2011 following a very intense and tight project program with much of the construction work being carried out at night and over weekends to avoid interfering with our production.
This substantial investment, hard work and commitment from everyone within Kentec and by the various contractors used during the project, has resulted in us now operating from one of the best facilities of its kind in the markets we operate in. State of the art machinery coupled with over three times the space we previously worked in and very “lean” systems has set us up nicely to be able to grow our business and satisfy our customer’s’ needs for years to come.
On the 28th March, the Honourable Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford and Cllr Patrick Coleman, The Worshipful The Mayor of Dartford, attended an official opening ceremony at our new facility.
The ugly bits! (click here)
Now on with the next plan..............