By Jim Montague, executive editor, Control
More than 500 staffers, distributors, suppliers, customers and other well-wishers attended the festive September opening of VEGA Americas’ sleek, new, 230,000-sq-ft headquarters in Mason, Ohio, which includes 130,000 sq ft for manufacturing (Figure 1). Many of the company’s close to 400 employees spent much of July and August moving to the new facility in stages, so they’d minimize disruptions in the midst of a record-setting year for sales and shipping of its level-sensing and other measurement products.
Located about 20 minutes from its former site, the $50-million facility is on a 50-acre campus in the Mason R&D Park (Figure 2). It maintains VEGA’s presence in the
Cincinnati area and keeps it accessible for existing workers by only adding one minute to their average commute. “VEGA is very conscious about making its staff feel at home, and that directed the search for a new campus,” said Isabel Grieshaber, general manager of VEGA Grieshaber, parent company of VEGA Americas. “This setting is reminiscent of the Black Forest in Germany, where VEGA Grieshaber is located in the town of Schiltach. This new home is dedicated to all the employees and the city of Mason, who made this amazing facility happen.”
The new facility includes fabricating and assembly spaces; engineering, prototyping and quality labs; clean assembly and testing rooms; training lab and 240-seat auditorium; lobby-based demonstration area; expanded shipping and receiving areas; sales, tech support and service offices; fitness center and other amenities (Figure 3). The site will also take over some manufacturing tasks from VEGA Grieshaber and support shipping its products to Canada, Mexico, South America and China.
“The vision for this project began in 2019, when we had 220 employees. Now, we have 382, so it’s been good for creating jobs in Ohio and bringing new technology to Mason’s R&D park,” said John Groom, CEO of VEGA Americas. “Three groups made this facility possible: our customers, who inspire us to produce more quickly and support them on our North American doorstep; our employees, who worked some 70-hour weeks and were even assisted by several recent retirees; and our business partners, especially Enpro, NAG Marine and BBP. Our staff even made it possible for us to ship 3,000 devices during the move. We really leaned on our customers, staff and partners during this massive project, and we appreciate and thank everyone who contributed.”
The training lab presently has three tanks and devices for level and flow testing but will add bulk-solids equipment soon (Figure 4). Everyone from customers and professional users to grade-school and college students will be able to learn about through-air radar, guided-wave radar (GWR), vibration switching, capacitance, pressure, Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and other level-measurement technologies and how they help to produce the consumer products that everyone uses each day.
The engineering lab can produce and test physical prototypes of CAD designs and ideas for developing new products or order-driven adjustments. The testing area on the manufacturing floor also includes an automated testbed for evaluating VEGAPuls 6X, which can test three of the radar devices at the same time. This will be useful because VEGA presently has about a 1 million radar-based level sensors and transmitters in the field and is on track to surpass the 40,000 devices it sold in 2021.