Monday, April 13, 2015

Swedish Modular Manufacturer Tours Excel Homes

A couple of months ago Scott Hedges, co-owner of Bygghouse, emailed me asking if I could help him show Stefan Lindback, owner of LindbacksModular in Lulea, Sweden, a couple of Mid-Atlantic modular home factories. Always up for a challenge, I told him it would be my pleasure.

Scott wrote back and told me that he had arranged a tour of Simplex Homes in Scranton, PA and could I arrange for another factory tour. I contacted Phil Hickman, President of Excel Homes, who said the red carpet would be waiting for my guests to tour the factory.
LtoR Lars Stehn. Milt Stolzfus, Delma Sheaffer (Excel), Bryan Heltzman (PHRC)

LtR: Aaron Trometter (Excel), Stefan Lindback, Katie Blansett (PHRC), Greg La Vardera (Bygghouse)

LtR: Stefan Lindback, Gary Fleisher (Modcoach), Lars Stehn

On Friday, April 10th, Scott Hedges, his business partner Greg La Vardera, Stefan Lindback and Lars Stehn (Renowned Professor of Timber Frame construction) from Sweden, Katie Blansett, the Associate Director of the PA Housing Research Center at Penn State along three members of her staff and Milt Stolzfus from the PA Housing and Building Standards and myself all descended on the Excel factory.

LtR: Stefan Lindback, Lars Stehn, Delma Sheaffer, Phil Hickman (Pres. of Excel), Aaron Trometter

True to his word, we were warmly welcomed and toured the production line and had a great presentation from Stefan about the Swedish modular building method.

Sweden, a country the size of California but with only 9 million people produces an amazing amount of high tech consumer, commercial and military products including Saab, Electrolux, Ericsson, IKEA, Leopard tanks and of course, Lindback modular housing. They have embraced automation more so than just about any other country because of their finite labor pool and turn out some of the best products in the world.

The US modular home industry has yet to use automation to the extent of the Swedes because a much larger labor pool means that automation will be a hard sell to US modular factories.

That said, both the Excel people and their Swedish counterparts enjoyed the visit and I think a lot of friendships were formed. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great news Coach. Any exposure to the Swedes advanced production methods is a breath of fresh air for our somewhat tired, staid industry.