Flexible Plant Uses Adaptable Power

When Honeywell's Avionics and Electronics Systems (AES) division in Olathe, Kan., built its 560,000-sq.-ft., $40 million Cedar Creek facility, says Charles Kitterman, manager of facilities, the intent was to create "a futuristic venture into an environment uniquely structured to improve communication, productivity and profitability.

03/01/2002


When Honeywell's Avionics and Electronics Systems (AES) division in Olathe, Kan., built its 560,000-sq.-ft., $40 million Cedar Creek facility, says Charles Kitterman, manager of facilities, the intent was to create "a futuristic venture into an environment uniquely structured to improve communication, productivity and profitability."

One technology that helped revolutionize the manufacturing environment was overhead busway, says Kitterman. "With the overhead busway electrical supply system, that delivers both house current and 400-Hz current, an entire production line can be reconfigured in just 24 hours."

The overhead power grid includes outlets every 24 feet; with the option of adding drop cords wherever and whenever they are needed. Busways are a significant feature that helps the company integrate engineering, manufacturing and other business segments.

The search for flexibility led plant managers to fast-track busways. By installing a 24-foot network of parallel busway runs on the ceiling, they can plug in power anywhere it's needed, without having to evaluate more expensive, time-consuming installation of conduit systems.

On the plant floor, power grids handle both house current and 400-Hz power. All outlets and drop cords have quick "twist-n-lock" disconnect features. As a result, six workstation benches can work off one power cord. Also, the areas maintain flexibility in configuring product lines because power delivery systems to all of the benches are not permanently tied together.

Kitterman notes that the "total design and installation effort for lighting and power supply was substantially reduced in office cubes, engineering cells, test centers, and assembly workstations.

"Now, our electrical power delivery system is a simple question of where, and how many plugs?" he says.

"With this overhead supply system, an entire production line can be reconfigured in 24 hours. Formerly, it took at least a week."

For more information on busway systems from Universal Electric, circle number 453 on the Reader Service Card.

From Pure Power, Spring 2002.





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