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CONESTOGA WOOD HIGH-TECH FINISHING FACILITY EXPANSION FINISHED, UP AND RUNNING

Conestoga Wood Specialties Adds Over 47,000 Square Feet and State-of-the-art Finishing Equipment to Meet Market Demand

With consistent market growth and the considerable demand for painted kitchens continuing on the rise, Conestoga made the move to consolidate and expand their finishing operation to significantly grow and streamline their capabilities.

According to Conestoga CEO, Anthony Hahn, “Demand for paint continues to rise market wide. We’ve been doing the math all along, knowing we had to grow our capacity to stay ahead of the curve. We have the best track record for quality and on-time delivery in the industry, and we intend to keep it that way. This was clearly a must-do expansion/consolidation of our finishing operation!”

For the past five years, Conestoga’s painted finish volume has averaged more than 20% year over year growth – more than doubling their daily piece volume…so the time was right for expansion.

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Said Hahn, “In June of 2013, we assembled a cross-functional team to determine what flat line finishing equipment would be needed and the facility capacity it would require to do the job right. We set an aggressive December 2015 timeframe to have the construction completed and the new finishing operation up and running.”

During their initial exploration, Conestoga’s thinking was to add a simple priming line. However, a deeper dive revealed that their capacity would significantly increase by incorporating the best new equipment and process improvements to handle it all – priming, painting, and top-coating. The result would be a manufacturing process with the most future flexibility, producing the same or better quality. Their studies also concluded that the coatings Conestoga was currently using were superior in quality to competitive products such as UV and water based coatings.
After evaluating the offerings of a number of top flat line finishing equipment manufacturers, Conestoga settled on Stiles and Venjakob. The new facility includes:

•Venjakob Automatic Flat Line Finishing System which applies and dries coatings on various products with optimum quality and efficiency compared to older equipment.

•Freestanding Spray Booth for use when manual application is necessary. The booth includes a downdraft feature that forces dirt and fumes to the floor and away from the operator.

•Freestanding Infrared Oven. Utilizing state-of-the-art with programmable heating recipes, this oven dries product coated in the off-line spray booth.

•Sanding Rooms with Downdraft Tables that include self-contained filtration systems to remove particulate dust from the hand sanding area, and returning clean air to the room._e4a2469

An excited Conestoga Finishing Technical Manager, Jason Earhart, commented, “This equipment is the latest and greatest technology available on the market today. The consolidation of processes was exactly the right way to go. The improved repeatability, shorter cycle times, and significantly larger workspace have provided us with the long-term growth solution we were shooting for!”

As far as the building that houses the new operation, in August of 2014, Conestoga began the process of interviewing and obtaining proposals from design-build general contractors, with building cost being only one relatively small consideration in their selection criteria. Their evaluation matrix scored candidates based upon quality of work, on-time completion history, subcontractor selection, safety record, references, and other key factors. Click here to watch a video of the building process: http://bit.ly/2h9za9p

“Ultimately, we chose a contractor that holds itself to the same high standards as we hold ourselves,” said Hahn. “Additionally, we needed a firm that could overcome a number of engineering and construction challenges. For example, it was crucial that production not be disrupted and, because the new facility would be adjacent to other operations, construction dust had to be completely contained.” Existing air make-up units remained in operation until it was time to flip the switch on the new ones.

Construction permits were secured in 2015. The building is now completed and full occupancy granted with equipment installed and operators fully trained, this completely modern 143’ x 300’ expansion, with ceilings up to 28’ high, is up and running.

A confident Hahn exclaimed, “This expansion has significantly increased our finishing capabilities, enabling Conestoga to meet our customers’ demands for the highest quality finishes and on-time delivery they've come to expect for many years to come.”_e4a2451