Since its creation over 70 years ago, SWAROVSKI OPTIK has been strongly committed to its Tyrolean production site in Absam. Situated in the heart of a scenic residential and leisure area, the company’s headquarters blend harmoniously into their surroundings. Following capacity bottlenecks and 18 years of service, the central anodizing plant needed to be replaced, with more space required to accommodate the new, around 50% larger, aluminum surface-finishing machine.
In 2017, the internal construction department led by Bernhard Ölz, Head of buildings, waste, and industrial law, therefore drew up plans and detailed cost estimates for appraisal by the company’s management. Since SWAROVSKI OPTIK’s strength has always been its ability to produce everything at a single site, approval was given for a total investment amounting to just under 20 million euros – safeguarding the company’s site and securing many jobs.
The very limited space available on the company’s site for any new construction called for extremely clever planning. A surface area of just 1,400 square meters (15,000 square feet) needed to accommodate wastewater treatment, assembly, management workshops, additional production areas, and two technical centers – with the ultimate aim of creating the shortest possible distances between production steps. Construction finally started in May 2018 and just two years and three months later, the new building was ready to move into.
The anodizing plant was planned in painstaking detail internally by Martin Gabl, Head of Process Development and environmental officer, in consultation with the external plant manufacturer and measures 50 meters long by seven meters wide and eight meters high (164 x 23 x 26 feet). The plant’s size meant it was subject to a very strict approval process according to the IPPC standard (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control). The construction also needed to incorporate a projecting balcony, an additional factor that posed a particular challenge in the structural calculations. The plant was finally fitted with extreme precision in the available space with a clearance of just 10 centimeters (4 inches) at the front and back.
Sustainable management is a given at SWAROVSKI OPTIK: according to the company’s self-imposed rules, environmental management must be considered right from the start of any new project. The anodizing plant was no exception. Working closely with the internal construction and plant planning teams, the building services team led by Christoph Schwaninger faced some critical challenges.
Planning a new building for a large industrial plant in the middle of a predominantly residential area required great expertise and sensitivity. SWAROVSKI OPTIK is known and respected as a trustworthy producer in the region. So right from the start, the company’s aim was not just to comply with all emissions values, but to significantly reduce them. Noise was a particular focus as sound emissions would have created the greatest disturbance for the local neighborhood. A clever system using large sound absorbers has reduced noise emissions to an absolute minimum, to the point where they are barely perceptible.
Meticulous attention to detail, expert knowledge, perfect interdepartmental cooperation, coordinated entrepreneurial thinking, and solution-oriented action: since the move into the new production building and commissioning of the anodizing plant in August 2020, this concerted approach has ensured that SWAROVSKI OPTIK is ideally equipped for the coming years and beyond.
A huge increase in demand for innovative high-precision long-range optics has resulted in a particularly large number of orders. The company’s bold approach is paying dividends as, in addition to other benefits, the new anodizing plant ensures production can keep pace with this surge in demand. This has also reinforced SWAROVSKI OPTIK’s commitment to remain independent at its site and be a reliable partner to people as an employer, a neighbor, and a manufacturer of high-quality optics.