When we approached our electrician and said “we are going to rip all of the wires out of our walls” he replied like you would expect: are you crazy?   With constant continuous improvement activities, we need the flexibility to move around offices, computers, and machines without having to pull wires through walls and figure out how to patch old holes.  It was a little hard to tear apart walls that are only 6 years old but we decided to plan it out and do it anyway.  

Our solution to have a more flexible office (and wiring) was to build overhead cable trays.  The trays form a halo around each room and all route from the main servers to each area of the plant.  Along the way we also made some significant improvements to our ventilation system (positive pressure with an HRV, full zoning of every room, and increased filtration capacity) and found ways to make the offices easier to clean.

CAUTION TO READERS: many terrible *before* pictures to follow and they aren’t pretty! 

 

 

 Step 1: Move everyone out and share offices for a few months.  The walls are dark grey with red accents, the ceiling tile is starting to turn brown, and the lights are using way too much power.

Step 1: Move everyone out and share offices for a few months.  The walls are dark grey with red accents, the ceiling tile is starting to turn brown, and the lights are using way too much power.

 Step 2: Rip out wires, run temporary wires, and say “what have we done”!  Approximately 150 wires had to be taken out and re-run only to be later run again through the cable tray.  

Step 2: Rip out wires, run temporary wires, and say “what have we done”!  Approximately 150 wires had to be taken out and re-run only to be later run again through the cable tray.  

 Step 3: take down rest of ceiling tile and finish muddling and taping the ceiling. 

Step 3: take down rest of ceiling tile and finish muddling and taping the ceiling. 

 After some painting and new flooring we are part way there.  Still tough working around all of the mess, wires, and construction noises but we have the greatest people who support progress at any cost!   An extra improvement for our people was to switch to up/down desks as seen in this photo.

After some painting and new flooring we are part way there.  Still tough working around all of the mess, wires, and construction noises but we have the greatest people who support progress at any cost!   An extra improvement for our people was to switch to up/down desks as seen in this photo.

 Done!  The hightlights of this picture are: the aluminum cable tray, the LED lights, the light sensor mounted to the bottom of the tray, some new personal storage lockers, lighter grey paint, and exposed ceiling tiles.   This renovation also added space for 3 extra people in the same floor plan.

Done!  The hightlights of this picture are: the aluminum cable tray, the LED lights, the light sensor mounted to the bottom of the tray, some new personal storage lockers, lighter grey paint, and exposed ceiling tiles.   This renovation also added space for 3 extra people in the same floor plan.

 The entire cable tray was designed in-house, built, and installed.   

The entire cable tray was designed in-house, built, and installed.   

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The wire drops from the tray are surface mounted and have a subtle industrial look.