Last month, Johnson Controls completed a major $7.5 million investment into new automation equipment at its commercial HVAC manufacturing plant in Norman, OK. The new equipment will increase capacity, while improving product quality, safety, and assembly productivity at the 900,000-square-foot facility, known as Johnson Controls Rooftop Center of Excellence.
“Johnson Controls is committed to surpassing our customers’ expectations through the continuous improvement of our manufacturing plants and investment into our product lines,” said Doug Schuster, Vice President & General Manager, Global Ducted Systems, Johnson Controls. “We continue to invest in the improvement activities at the Norman facility to modernize and expand the plant, automate the manufacturing process, improve safety for our employees and ensure our products are built to the highest quality standards possible.”
The new automation equipment includes the following:
- Punch and Roll Forming Machine: A new punch and roll forming machine will produce all base rails from coils to finished product in one process, supporting Select and Premier commercial rooftop units. This all-in-one machine will take approximately 45 seconds of cycle time per rail, resulting in productivity gains and reduced material handling, while giving the operators an ergonomically sound process for fabricating rails. The machine also features kitting capabilities, which increases speed and reduces human error.
- Robotic Press Brakes: Three new robotic press brakes have been installed at the facility. The robotic arm in each machine moves parts to and from the press break before being placed on an exit convey. Three of these machines can be operated by one operator, resulting in productivity gains, improved quality and repeatability.
- Turret Laser Machines: Two new turret laser machines will punch and cut sheet metal for three newly installed assembly lines. Each machine features an eight-shelf loader for raw materials and finished parts, a 220-tool automatic tool changer and a part sorter. These machines will support growth plans by increasing capacity, providing redundancy for the laser cutting process and improving sorting productivity.
- Auto Brazer: The new auto brazer will increase output of fin and tube coils for large rooftop units and address the new coil lengths being introduced on future products.
The new equipment will increase facility capacity and streamline the manufacturing process, making employees jobs safer and more efficient, but jobs will not be impacted.
The most notable expansion of the 50-year-old Norman facility was in April 2019. It now features nearly 400,000 square feet of incremental laboratory and manufacturing space, which includes a two-story, 52-foot-high testing lab roughly the size of one-and-a-half football fields. The extensive laboratory allows Johnson Controls to conduct on-site development, regulatory compliance, performance, safety, and reliability testing, including the ability to test a 150-ton rooftop unit in climates ranging from -30ºF to 130ºF. The 2019 expansion also included renovations to more than 150,000 square feet of office and meeting space. Today, the facility manufacturers commercial HVAC systems for Johnson Controls, YORK®, TempMaster®, Luxaire®, Coleman® and Champion® brands.