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At the Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI) auto battery manufacturing plant in Holland, Ohio, a multiple-phase construction project was needed to significantly increase production capacity of automotive Absorbent Glass Mat (AGM) batteries.

The GPS Design/Build Advantage: putting the owner’s process first

GEM Inc. knew that using a traditional construction method for this project was not going to work as designs must be created around the owner’s process, not done to spec. By using the GEM Process Solutions (GPS) system for this project, the project was not only feasible, but could be done affordably.

Preconstruction planning enabled a complex build, with the plant still running

Careful preconstruction planning and the ability to adapt as the equipment design evolved were essential factors to the success of this installation.

The first phase of the project called for a new processing tower, however, a simple installation wasn’t going to be possible since the roof of the plant was a unique design with post-tensioned concrete roof panels. For a tower to be installed, the complicated roof had to be supported and removed. With GEM leading the project team, portions of the roof large enough to bring the tower’s support columns through were cut. The new concrete foundations for the tower were poured beneath existing battery equipment as it was operating.

The 75-foot high, multi-level tower was then constructed above the existing roof and equipment. Once completed, the battery line was relocated, and three levels of supporting process equipment were connected with the facility’s upper floors.

Bringing a new product to market

Once the structural addition was complete, GEM began the oxide phase two process expansion which included the installation for ore equipment.  The GPS system was again deployed due to tight space with no room to store materials.  Phase project steps with just-in-time equipment delivery were needed.  For example, lead dust collecting equipment – critical to the plant’s success – were hung from the rafters so that the floors could be finished first, after which the dust collectors were lowered into place.  A control room was built in place due to space constraints.  The existing chilled water system required phased work as it had to keep up with the oxide production while the new system was brought on line.

GEM brought not only expertise and experience to the project, but also the unique GPS approach of designing solutions tailored to the owner’s individual process requirements. The company’s investment resulted in increased production capacity of six million automotive AGM batteries at this facility, the first JCI plant in North America to make them.

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JCI oxide plant addition – Middletown, DE

Since the time these projects were completed, GEM has been awarded oxide additions at two other Johnson Controls  plants in Delaware and Missouri.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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