Crafting the Blueprint of an Effective Layout

Taylor Devices.

Taylor Devices and TCIE leaders pose for a photo opportunity at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. From left: Timothy Leyh, TCIE executive director; Doug Taylor, Taylor president; Richard Hill, Taylor vice president; Ben Kujawinski, Taylor operations manager; and Gary Simon, TCIE director of business development.

Published May 16, 2014

Taylor Devices, Inc., is a world leader in designing and manufacturing shock absorption devices, with recent growth in the seismic protection field and isolation of wind-induced vibrations.

Despite its engineering prowess, President Doug Taylor is fully aware of the company’s limitations.

“We’re not necessarily very good at industrial engineering,” he said.

So when the company added to its real estate with the purchase of three former steel mill buildings and more than nine acres of adjacent land in North Tonawanda, leaders engaged UB TCIE before relocating any production equipment from the Tonawanda Island facilities.

Taylor Devices’ seven-year partnership with TCIE through numerous initiatives had resulted in improved operations. This time, the need was an optimal layout for what would become Taylor’s new machining and metalworking facility at Buffalo Bolt Business Park, a fully remediated brownfield site that is in the beginning stages of a manufacturing resurgence.

Engineering faculty and graduate students from the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences were tapped to evaluate existing machining operations and future growth expectations. Their task was to develop an efficient facility layout in terms of material handling.

The project involved data collection, a space requirement analysis, and development of general layout alternatives. After the company selected one design to pursue, the TCIE team crafted the details with input from Taylor Devices.

“They could bring to the table what we could not,” said Richard Hill, vice president. “There are times you need that type of expertise, but to maintain it on a regular basis doesn’t pay for itself.”

The end product is a well-thought floor plan accommodating the production of nearly all parts. It includes the strategic placement of overhead cranes used to move large pieces from machine to machine.

A ribbon-cutting event in November 2013 celebrated the grand opening of the machining building plus the two other Buffalo Bolt facilities. All together, the expansion equals 55,000 additional square feet, doubling the size of Taylor’s manufacturing capabilities.

“The business park was all park and no business four years ago,” said North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, adding that Taylor Devices is the first tenant. “We are very happy to see a long-time North Tonawanda company expanding and creating jobs here in our city.”

Hill explained that the expansion allows the company to complete work in-house that was previously handled by suppliers. It also enables easy maintenance for customer orders requiring a clean separation between assembly and machinery.

Taylor’s long-time site, located 1.4 miles away, continues to be used for assembly and product testing, and houses the office staff, engineering department, and research and development activities. With the vacating of the machine shop and availability of more space, TCIE redesigned the assembly operations to have flexibility for potential changes in workload and product lines.