Thursday, May 27, 2021

Z Modular Ups Their Game

Staying ahead of the curve in the world of modular construction means a lot of research and money. 

When Zekelman Industries announced the launch of its Z Modular facility in Arizona in 2019, the company had a goal to build steel-framed, volumetric, modular building units to 1/16-in. tolerance and deliver them fast, without cost overruns. And the firm had most of the ingredients it needed to reach that goal.

The Arizona facility—Z Mod’s third—would be producing 90% of the raw materials needed for construction, including the steel (Zekelman’s specialty), so timelines were mostly under the company’s control. And it had a knowledgeable team in place.

The plan was eventually to rely on automation to deliver the speed required to take the company over the top. But Matt Miller, Z Mod’s Chandler plant manager, wanted to establish that speed even before the automation came online. “Not only that,” said Miller, “but there were also the usual factors that are just a part of modular construction, including the need to fixture for an infinite number of size variations.”

Miller realized a modular fixturing system made sense for Z Modular’s high-mix/low-volume production. “I knew we needed a modular system, because we build so many different assemblies with different dimensions,” he explained. “We needed something that was flexible so we could move the tooling around quickly and easily.”

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Miller reached out to Bluco Senior Application Engineer Todd Bennett, who told Miller something he was hoping to hear: Bluco had done this before. The company had fixtured not only Z Mod’s Texas plant, but another modular construction facility located near Bluco in Naperville, Ill. Miller visited Bluco’s on-site Validation Center and the modular construction facility nearby, where he was able to see similar systems in action.

CLICK HERE to read the entire The Fabricator article

Gary Fleisher is the Managing Director and contributor to the Modcoach Network and its affiliated blogs.

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