Thursday, December 29, 2011

Electric Vehicle Test

We have posted in the past about the possible future of electric propulsion for delivery vehicles.  (see this entry from 2010Oct) Our typical delivery is a 150mile round-trip, many times with a substantial cargo weight.

Now it seems that FedEx is trying out cargo vans based on Nissan Leaf, and so is the Japan Post. (article link)

Mitsubishi is preparing a light-duty electric truck for farmers and contractors with forecast of 1/2 it's sales to be electric by 2020 (article link).  The former President of GM has joined a conversion company that makes hybrid pickups from existing lines (article link).

Big corporate names such as Coca Cola are looking to the future with EV delivery trucks (article link), specifically the Newton by Smith Electric Vehicles.  They have a range of up to 150 miles, and speed of 50mph, all while hauling up to 16,000lbs of cargo.  They are a target market with 176 purchased by Frito-Lay, 41 purchased by Staples, and plans by AT&T to purchase more, and the U.S. Marines testing a pair of military spec versions.

What does this mean for our company?  The range and cargo capacity of all-electric vehicles is approaching the standards needed for our operations.  We have been documenting capability of an electric passenger vehicle as preparation for a cargo capable vehicle.  As of 2011Dec31, our IDA electric car has nearly 13,000 miles that have been entirely powered with electricity that was generated by our on-site solar array.

Images are drawn from and copyright

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

For Sale - Racks for Storage.

We have dismantled a rack storage structure on the property, and are offering it for sale, in pieces by lot. Possibilities include creating storage in your warehouse, or garage.

The vertical uprights are 30 feet long, but can be cut down to shorter lengths. They are available in both 4ft and 5ft depths.

The horizontal beams are numerous and come in 10ft or 12ft lengths. All beams attach to the verticals with a pin insert for easy attachment or adjustment. The beams feature a shelf where corrugated decking, wire frame, wood, or other such shelf design would sit in.

All parts are sold as is, Cash and Carry, from our location at 200 Roosevelt Drive Derby, during business hours. Business hours are Mon-Fri, 5:30AM-2:00PM. Afternoon or Weekend pickup times can be arranged.

Verticals: $30 each 30ft length
Horizontals: $15 each beam
Verticals can be cut into desired length (example - two 15ft lengths), and each horizontal includes 2 pins for attachment to Verticals.

A single vertical cut in half, plus 4 horizontal beams = $90 for minimum setup. Subsequent verticals can attach to the initial first shelf making incremental increase in storage space even less expensive. Racks are available in either 4ft or 5ft depth shelves. Horizontals are 10ft or 12ft in length. No variation in price among those component sizes.

This storage system is being dismantled from our property (see other blog entries), and has some surface rust spots where a coating of paint would improve it's aesthetics if you desired.

Use these to store small items, or complete pallets of product, even leave the space below open so that you can roll in access to equipment such as a lawnmower or welder and still have storage above.

Questions, contact Thomas Harbinson

Friday, September 30, 2011

De-Construction Part6 - Complete

NOTE: Part of our Vision Statement is to be a Respected Company in the Community. That comes through communication regarding our activities. A portion of our property that is in high profile to the community is undergoing some changes. This communication series is to communicate what is happening.

"Rack Storage" brown building
We prepared to dismantle a significant sized structure on our property, starting in August.  It was completed by September 30th.  The footprint of the warehouse was 42,000 square feet, a light-engineered design style, with everything framed off the steel storage racks which supported the siding, roofing, electrical, plumbing - basically everything.  The warehouse was never used by us since moving to the property in the late 1980's.  It was a shell that had no stairs, elevator, or other ready access.  When the structure was designed, materials and product were delivered via conveyor belt.  All of these elements, along with accessory structures, were removed over 25 years ago, previous to our ownership.

Recycling Center unloads scrap.
Transporting sheething to recycler
The storage rack elements and accessories were all dismantled and removed in two months.  95% of these elements were recycled for their scrap value.  Close to 1/2 a million pounds of steel were transported by us to a recycle center within 20 miles.  Other materials were taken away as refuse.

Removing is systematically
Sheeting removed from racks
While this activity wasn't technically a "demolition", it is important to not that such work, If approached in a proper way, can be accomplished in a "green" manner.  Systematically removing the materials made it easy to consolidate for shipping to scrap yard.  Keeping the standpipe and cast iron separate from the light steel, allowed us to get the best price rather than be a mixed materials.  In essence we were constructing the facility in reverse, or deconstructing it rather than simply demolishing it.

Removing the Racks
The "floor" of the warehouse (technically not a "building") was elevated and it remains, acting now as a shed roof for our storage area below, sheltering our materials from the weather elements.  Longtime local residents may recall that the area below was where the outlet store "Sewers Delight" was once located selling cloth remnants from the days when the location housed a fabric dyeing and printing company (Hull Dye Print Works).

Finished with removal
With no specific plans at the present, the steel beams may be wrapped with the material we use on building facades to create a more pleasant presentation to the community, and help accomplish a roofing membrane and drain system to the deck for it's long-term protection.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

De-Construction Part5 - Siding

NOTE: Part of our Vision Statement is to be a Respected Company in the Community. That comes through communication regarding our activities. A portion of our property that is in high profile to the community is undergoing some changes. This communication series is to communicate what is happening.

With so much preparation work having taken place, it is time to dismantle the sheathing facing the canal and Roosevelt Drive. It's likely at this stage in de-construction that residents or passerby will wonder what is going on, and thus this communication stream.

The following photos were over just a couple of days.
Link to Part 6.

De-Construction Part4 - Broom Clean Ready

NOTE: Part of our Vision Statement is to be a Respected Company in the Community. That comes through communication regarding our activities. A portion of our property that is in high profile to the community is undergoing some changes. This communication series is to communicate what is happening.

The interior of the building is now broom clean with all decking, pipes, electrical, lights and insulation removed. Everything except the insulation and roof materials in the 42,000 sqft building was recycled for it's scrap metal value. The only thing left on the floor is the vertical supports, with connections between the rows which tie it together as a structure with rigidity. The outside sheathing is attached to girts that run the full perimeter.

The view up the river valley is spectacular on a clear day like today. The Yale University Boathouse is barely visible in this one-point perspective photo.

The building's footprint is apx. 42,000 square feet. The racks are over 30 feet high. This yielded 1.2 million cubic feet of storage space. Sadly, it has gone vacant for over 30years due to inability to heat the space and offer something other than "cold storage", and the lack of freight elevator accessibility as would be called for with modern warehouse standards.

The "erector set" of racks is simply held together with pins, and the gravity of the steel horizontal beams holds them in place. These components have been in place since the 1960's, and the structure vacant from use for over 30 years. As such, water that was standing on the floor from roof leaks had caused deterioration to the steel in a few places. The photo shows how rust has eaten like a cancer up this particular vertical support. Unlike structural steel (such as i-beams), rolled steel material is lighter and more susceptible to rust over time. In the few places where regularly in standing water, it thus causes significant rust penetration. This has simply become a safety matter and the structure had to be dismantled.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

De-Construction Part3 - Siding First

NOTE: Part of our Vision Statement is to be a Respected Company in the Community. That comes through communication regarding our activities. A portion of our property that is in high profile to the community is undergoing some changes. This communication series is to communicate what is happening.
See this blog link to information regarding these racks available for sale

At this stage, the Rack Storage structure has had all of it's roof decking as well as internal accessories removed. It was important to keep the various materials separated: cast iron drain pipe, sheathing sheet metal, roof decking corrugated steel, shelving steel, etc. Fortunately, we have a large yard to sort and separate the materials as seen in adjacent photo.

Keeping materials separated and uniform allowed efficient loading on trucks for consolidated delivery to the scrap yard, and yielding the best scrap price for semi-prepared materials rather than simply dumpsters filled with various components. It also allowed us to make the scrap deliveries ourselves rather than with large containers.

The rear of the structure was our first attempt because it was a bit more complicated. After the fire from the mid 1980's, when the State of CT seized the property, and subsequently sold it to the City of Derby, it was prepared to be marketed as an industrial park. As you might imagine, there were some shortcuts taken in that governmental preparation. On some parts of the structure, they left the existing siding and put on some "Z" girts for attaching a second layer of siding that was more aesthetically pleasing. In between was a layer of insulation, which seems strange since there was never any form of heat provided within the structure.

After the first layer was removed, insulation pulled away, and the second layer of sheathing removed, it left exposed the simple erector set of the storage racks. With this accomplished, to speed the progress and minimize the disruption as witnessed from the street, we removed all the coping that bridged between the siding and the roof (which was removed first).

Our next blog entry will show how the preparation paid off with quick work and minimal disruption to the street facing the Canal. Note: while "Canal Street" is technically closed due to a construction project by the United Illuminating electric utility, it is still important to minimize disruption of access for any emergency responders.

Friday, August 5, 2011

De-Construction Part2 - Preparation

NOTE: Part of our Vision Statement is to be a Respected Company in the Community. That comes through communication regarding our activities. A portion of our property that is in high profile to the community is undergoing some changes. This communication series is to communicate what is happening
Read Part1 of this series.
See this blog link to information regarding these racks available for sale

Dismantling the "rack storage" structure would require some planning. First, we front directly on what is assumed to be a City street "Canal Street", when the fact is that it is technically a "common pass-way", a relic from the old manufacturing days. Regardless of the legal aspects, the work to be conducted would require closing the road from any use for safety reasons. The electric utility had some work to replace underground vaults in August where there was a formal notice of closing for a month - so we synchronized our opportunity to occur during that time.

The racks themselves are a heavy steel upright with perforated holes where horizontal beams sat on pins with gravity. It was on those beams that corrugated steel shelving was placed, and upon that shelving where product was stored when the storage structure was utilized. Removal would be as simple as dismantling an erector set, but just needed to be done in a proper sequence.

Since we utilize talented and trained staff in construction, it seemed wise to use the same staff to accomplish some de-construction. We allocated time in our schedule of upcoming projects to make use of our existing workforce in an efficient manner. All workers on site are trained in use of boom lifts, scissor lifts, fall safety, and other regulations related to OSHA that one would expect on a construction site.

The roof would come off first, and it was an EPDM type rubber roof with a build-up of styrofoam to create pitch toward the roof drains. This was compromised several times over the years. The photo to the left shows damage from 2003Nov. It was repaired, yet damaged again in 2004, and the photo on the right shows damage from 2006Mar. At certain points the roof has 11inches thick of the styrofoam to create pitch toward roof drains. The first step was to remove the roofing materials and dispose of it. While styrofoam can be recycled, the moisture and contamination from dirt and rust made that impossible and this was the only component of the building that was hauled away as waste.

Many interior components were removed during this time, all the light fixtures, wiring, roof drains with piping, sprinkler system, and shelving were all systematically dismantled and collectively separately hauled to a scrap storage facility for recycling. As an example, segregated piping shown on left, shelves and roof decking on the right loaded on truck for delivery to scrap yard.

Now with solely the structural elements in place, the erector set could be removed in sequence. Our next blog entry will illustrate how this was accomplished.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

De-Construction Part1 - History

NOTE: Part of our Vision Statement is to be a Respected Company in the Community. That comes through communication regarding our activities. A portion of our property that is in high profile to the community is undergoing some changes. This communication series is to communicate what is happening.

Normally, our company is involved with the construction of a new building, specifically the facade skin that protects the occupants from the elements. Soffits, Coping, Curtain-wall, Parapet, Column Covers, etc - all go into constructing the building "envelope". A photo-stream appears to the right on our blog page showing samples of such work.

Sometimes that construction is part of a remodeling of an existing structure. This is the first of several blog entries which will discuss how we addressed a part of our own facility in a "green" manner to recycle the content, rather than just conducting a "demolition", and be an example for others to consider.

First a little history.

Our facility has several components that have been around for some time. It's location utilized water power to turn machinery and manufacture cannons at one time. The Ousatonic Dam is just to our north, and the canal that brought water with it's potential energy is still along side our property. Some buildings are riveted steel construction from that time of the "US Rapid Fire Munitions Company". Here's a picture of the factory when it was operated by the "US Rapid Fire Gun & Power Company" with (22) 6" PDR Semi Automatic Guns, and (1) 15" PDR Rapid Fire Gun.

There were several textile operations over the years, such as "Victory Textile". In the 1980's, the last occupant before us was the "Hull Dye and Print Works", a fabric dye and print factory. They were one of the largest employers in Derby. Unfortunately, they had a fire in the mid 1980's, and the operations ceased. The State of Ct, and then the City of Derby took over control of the property and did remediation of contamination from years of industrial use, rehabilitated the parcel as an Industrial Park, and marketed it as such. That's when we came into ownership.

They Hull Dye company would print fabric in a design according to customer specifications, and in many cases store the bolts of fabric for on-demand delivery to the customer as a warehouse type service. One of the structures on our property housed these bolts of fabric, what we refer to internally as the "rack storage" area. It is the large brown structure that faces the canal and Roosevelt Drive.

This manufactured rack storage structure was from The Steelox Company, a subsidiary company of the Armco Steel Corporation. They had numerous structure types that were quickly and cheaply constructed, and thus popular during WW2 and subsequent years. You can learn a little bit about the company via this link to a history brochure.

The structure is actually very minimalist in design, commonly referred to as "pre-engineered". What is surprising to many is that there are no columns, no beams, no framing other than the storage racks that exist within the sheathing. The racks support the siding and the roof. There are also no stairs, elevator, or access to the floor area after the renovation that was done by the City of Derby. It could solely be accessed by climbing an old conveyor belt. With the racks being the structure of support for the siding and the roof, these racks couldn't be removed to create a clear-span of work space within the walls. It has been over 1 million cubic feet of unusable storage space since the property was purchased in 1987.

Over the years, the structure became compromised, and despite some repair work, reached a state where a decision had to be made for it's removal. Desiring to illustrate a "green" construction method, we focused on how it could be dismantled rather than demolished.

Look for further blog entries that will illustrate how this was accomplished. (Use the blog label "Green Construction" to filter entries for this subject).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Housatonic River 2011 Spring Floods

Our property is located along the Housatonic River in Derby. From our location one can access Long Island Sound and beyond with vessel, but just north of us is the Ousatonic Dam (sometimes called the Derby Dam). This is what created the canals on both the Shelton and Derby sides of the river that provided water power for factories such as the building we occupy (once a munitions factory, then a textile print/dye factory, now a solar powered building products manufacturing company)

Being so close to the river, the spring thaws from upstream snow annually cause quite a rush of water over the dam with a roaring sound to draw the onlookers. This year, it was particularly impressive. Cars floating down the river, docks being torn away, and numerous homes under water. Our local online newspaper covered the flood story and this video shows the dam from the Shelton side of the river (our facility is just out of view further downstream on the Derby side) with the fury of the river at it's 5th highest level ever.

Our property has some low lying frontage on the shore that gets covered in such spring storms and quickly dries out as the waters recede. Below is some video that shows the aftermath. Taken on Thu Mar10, 2011.

This next video begins at the most downstream corner of our property, and walks upstream to show why the under-story vegetation along a river bank is so important to maintain it's integrity and keep from being scoured away. In fact, the event left behind a layer of silt at least 6" deep.

And although it looks like the water was close to our building, this particular parcel's structure was constructed after the 1955 flood (which was several feet about this 2011 event), and the foundation was not impacted, as you can see by this last video.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Accolades and Recognition

Having done numerous projects in New York, it's fun to pick out our work on buildings in movie scenes. Recognizing our own work is nice, but it's nicer to be recognized by others for what we do.

Alcoa is the supplier of the main material we utilize "Reynobond" which is an aluminum composite sheet material. They have recognized us in 2010 for Outstanding Achievement. This is the 5th time we have been recognized by Alcoa for our "exceptional accomplishments".

They also produce an annual calendar to highlight projects where their Reynobond material is used in architecture around the world. It's considered an honor to have one of your projects featured in their calendar, and it is distributed widely to architects and fabricators. We are honored to have a project featured in the 2011 June page. It is 100 Park Avenue in New York City.

And the next time you are watching a movie filmed in NYC, you might see some of our work. This same 100 Park Avenue Building was captured in a pivotal scene of Will Smith's "I am Legend". See it on the right of this photo with the sidewalk scaffolding in place.
Imagery from the 2007 Movie, copyright Warner Bros.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter - effect of snow Part2

So the snow built up until February 7th at about noon. That was when the snow guards holding back such a mass of weight said "no more". The courtyard area has a standing seam metal roof that pitches toward it and had built up with quite a curl of snow. I estimate that it was 4ft thick of ice and dense snow and went back a good 20ft from the eave toward the ridge of the roof.

Heavy snow weights about 20lbs/cubic foot. 4ft tall drift x 60ft long gutter x 20ft from eave upward = 4800 cubic feet of snow, or 96,000 pounds. That my friends is a lot of weight. Snow guards were torn free, and it crashed into the courtyard.

We have a mini excavator handy and dug a path to see what was buried. The inverter obviously took a hit on the roof as you can see from this photo. It is made to withstand outdoor environments, but never was envisioned to be under such a blast of weight. The blue canopy shown in other photos over the inverter was a light gauge cover to shelter a technician when they would service the equipment. Needless to say, it was destroyed.

The inside corner also house the air conditioning condenser unit. We created a canopy cover to protect the unit from snow during the winter time. Little did we know it would be crushed under the impact.

So my next post will discuss the recovery from the event.