[The in-house Engineering department for temporary buildings - an actual research and development department.
Head of the Engineering department, Dr. Martin Schäfer, and his team are absolute perfectionists. No matter how good a temporary building is – they know: there will always be a component somewhere that can be improved. Even more importantly for him: Be installed in a more robust, more sustainable and simpler manner, at the same quality level at a lower price. He works closely together with the operational departments to ensure that these components do not remain on the drawing board. “Regardless of whether something is running well or there is scope for improvement – the feedback comes here”, says Schäfer, pointing to his desk. The meticulous search for an optimum solution then gets underway. As unlike other companies, the Engineering department at Herchenbach is a pure development department. As such, the team is able to focus on the new development and further development of products. The proof is in the pudding: A number of patents have already been granted especially for Herchenbach and Dr. Martin Schäfer is confident that there are plenty more to come.
One small screw can make all the difference: To fitters at Herchenbach temporary buildings and to the company’s customers. Construction has become much easier for the fitters since the company switched over to a new screw type. This means the following for our customers: Construction is faster. But for Dr. Martin Schäfer one point is of paramount importance: “The improvement was made with consistently high quality as well as reduced material costs.”
The list of improvements developed by the Engineering department includes some belters – such as the eaves node. At first glance you might mistake the connecting piece between the columns, girts and braces for being grey and unsightly, but there is more to the node than meets the eye. In contrast to its predecessor, it is much easier to install, especially as it is lighter – with higher load-bearing capacity. What’s so special about it: is that the eaves node was designed in such a way that it fits into the Herchenbach modular system. As the sustainability of its buildings is extremely important to Herchenbach, temporary buildings are designed in such a way that all components (for example, when renting a building) can always be reused. “We designed the new eaves node in such a way that it also fits previous models”, explains Schäfer. The new design with improved properties also fits into all previous constructions, meaning it can be used time and time again.
How the customer benefits:
New buildings, improved building processes
Alongside improving individual components, the Engineering department is also working on optimising building processes. New building configurations are being developed in the Engineering department and inspected in no time at all. Thanks to these TÜV-inspected statics from the Herchenbach modular system and the internally developed drawing program, customers have access to all necessary documentation shortly after placing their orders, allowing them to apply for planning permission. This not only saves time, but money too – “Process improvement, price reduction, quality enhancement” – that’s what you can expect in the Engineering department.
Yet it is not just individual parts and processes that Dr. Martin Schäfer and his team are able to improve. Pilot projects are also key to this process. As any customer requirements serve as our inspiration here. “Here we work in close cooperation with other departments”, adds Schäfer. “For example, we regularly take a look at the Sales team’s wish list. If promising concepts are requested here, we first of all check whether we are able to implement them as a pilot project, in order to ensure that we can then implement these concepts for all customers.
This is exactly how our smoke and heat exhaust ventilation system was developed, which is now approved by building authorities. “There was actually a system in place but only for steel buildings or solid constructions, so it was understandably rather heavy”, says Martin Schäfer. Nevertheless, they worked meticulously in the Herchenbach Engineering department on their designs and calculations until the approved smoke and heat exhaust ventilation system could also be integrated into a temporary building. Benefit to the customers: Fire protection accepted by building authorities and fire protection experts, benefit to Herchenbach: Large warehouses according to the fire protection concept.
Or even reinforced frames if a customer needs a gate exactly where wind bracing would need to be fitted due to structural reasons. Or impact and collision protectors, if the customer’s building needs to be protected against accidents with trucks, cars or fork lifts. Or, or, or … The list goes on. And even at this point, we know the list is going to get much longer. Dr. Martin Schäfer points to the drawings on his desk, “It’s still top secret, but we’ve got something up our sleeves”. After all, he’s only just begun with his ideas.