Machinery/electrical plan for new shop
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  1. #1
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    Default Machinery/electrical plan for new shop

    We rented a 6k sq ft warehouse to House all of our 480 volt machines and some of our 208v. 1 and 3 phase machines. Space is about 3x as long as it is wide. Will attach photo. I’m preparing for a planning visit by the electrician who is going to ask me what I want done. All the power is on the wall at one end of the space. There are two separate 480 volt 3 phase circuits coming in, one fused at 150 amps goes to panel and two buck transformers that run lights, two ceiling electric heaters, a vent fan, and many quad outlets. The other (good for 90 amps at 480/3) was intended to run machinery but isn’t yet connected; has wire and conduit to building electric room but only goes into a dead j-box. Assuming we get it on a meter etc. I’m interested in any layout recommendations regarding the distribution network and machine placement. For example, is it better to have machines on one of the long side walls or lined up down the center of the floor? We don’t currently do any production type jobs where work flow would be a factor, our work is all onesies, prototype, etc. A friend who has some factory experience suggested lining up the machines down the long center axis of shop with pairs back-to-back, with power cables coming down from ceiling to each pair. Ceiling is only 22 ft. High. Machines include two mills, 5 assorted drills, two band saws, 3 grinder/buffers, shaper, 2 threaders, dust collector, 10 hp air compressor, welder/plasma cutters (both 208/1), and some others. Motors probably average 2 hp. Ignoring the compressor. No more than two machines run simultaneously due to limited operators. Since physical proximity of one machine to another isn’t a factor for work efficiency, I’d plan to group 480 volt machines at one end and 208/3 machines at other. We have spare 208/480 and 480/208 4-phase transformers up to 45 kva if using them somewhere in the design makes sense.

    5a0b0a97-d102-40c8-bbd6-05d2372c9340.jpg21f33f67-fa6a-4500-8e85-2272bdc7d9ab.jpg

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    I think you would be better served putting them against the walls (minding the 36" rule). Will soon become a PITA to walk all the way around to get to somewhere if they are in the middle. And if you ever expand and buy new equipment, you may have move a bunch of stuff to get it in there, vs just sliding it into an empty area against the wall.

    I'd put the plasma cutter and grinding equipment as far away from the CNC and other precision equipment as space allows to keep dirt/grime/grinding bits and what not off the machines.

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    In a somehow similar space of the shop I was working years ago, the machines (some dozen of lathes and mills) were arranged in an echelon formation: placed at maybe 60 degrees against the long wall. This worked quite well allowing lot of access around the machines.
    Grinding operations must be separated from machining, preferably by a wall and so should be welding. In most shops the saws and other cutting stuff is close to the loading area where the materials are stored and delivered.

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    A friend who has some factory experience suggested lining up the machines down the long center axis of shop with pairs back-to-back, with power cables coming down from ceiling to each pair.
    Your friend is an idiot.. Is he going to pay for all the conduit and wire to put the machines in the
    center of a big giant floor? Why would you even do that??

    My first suggestion would be to set it up like a small shop around the panel.. Because wire and
    conduit aren't cheap, and they don't run themselves.. BUT!! You are saying that all your machines
    are really low horse, so at 480V you're basically running metallic dental floss, which is cheap..

    I would assume you are planning on expanding.. I would assume expansion involves machines that
    require more juice.. So I would leave room around the panel to put your new(er) higher horse machines
    and set your current stuff up like a small shop a small distance over.

    You may not be running "cells", but do want to walk a 100 feet to get your calipers because all your
    machines are lined up along the wall?

    And open floor space is awesome... Run your RC car around, get drunk and do donuts in a go-kart, pull your
    truck in and swap the motor....

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    A long narrow space is often made to order for an established workflow—but for a job shop, maybe not so much.

    Remember that in a machine shop, walls eventually grow inward toward the center because people lean stock and other stuff against them. It's difficult and time-consuming to clean behind machines that are against walls. Also, most CNCs require access from all sides. In a narrow space, angle them at 30° to 45° and things get a lot more convenient. With a row of engine lathes it's actually a safety consideration to keep the plane of rotation of the chuck from lining up with the next operator's face.
    Last edited by Oldwrench; 12-17-2017 at 07:30 PM.

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    ^^ That. Plus angling makes it easier to get chip bins out.

    Material and saws together. If you have an auto saw with in and outfeed rollers, that goes against a wall.

    Keep the grinding and dirty fab work away from the machines. Group the mills together, group the lathes together. That keeps the tooling close to the machines. Make the long runs 480 and put the transformers where you need them.

    Keep a clear forklift path down the center full length.

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    A 2 car garage worth of equipment in a 6k sq ft industrial building?

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    The options are endless.
    I like walls as they provide a "chip enclosure" which you can "sweep" chips to with a air hose when running.
    This won't work with placement down the center unless you put up screen walls around each.
    Works for a line of grinders, not so much for open milling or turning.
    Drills to a point and bandsaws in particular need consideration for where the really long stock sticks out the back side.
    Also think where do the work benches and/or inspection tables go. Where is the toolbox?
    Do I roll my box from machine to machine during the day? Do I have to walk a mile to the surface plate. (sometimes inspection in the center is nice)
    A machine does not sit by itself and this added stuff needs to be real close at hand yet out of the path of flying chips.
    All about the least number of steps to get the job done all day long.
    I literately count the number of footsteps when doing a layout and seek to minimize them.
    The nice thing about using drops off a central buss or run is that you can easily change things when you see a better layout.
    Bad thing is the amount of cable you have to buy up front.
    No matter what if you grow you will want to change things around so if you restrict to one layout you will kick yourself down the road.
    Think flexible arrangement as you really don't know where your shop will go but this does cost more.
    I have "wired" myself into a corner and then spent more money to undo it.
    The advice about angling is spot on even though you have much room now. It just works better for me.
    Each machine and it's supported stuff needed kind of becomes a "cell" even in the one off, one machine world.

    Arm's reach to everything I need, easy move to the other operation, easy to clean my area, reduced effort to make my parts.
    Do not short the initial investment only to sacrifice it many times over down the road.
    Every single movement of a arm, every single step counts, production or proto shop. And these pennies add up.......

    Despite all my bullshit, how much will you loose with a not so great setup?
    Maybe not much, and maybe pennies so what you like and feel becomes the "right" way to do things.
    Do what seems and fits you and see how it works. Tweak as needed to your usage.
    You have to play your own gut here and we are not you or know your shop, customers, or products.
    It is your shop, organize as you seem fit. This is your call.
    I have no fear that you will do it right but there is no right,.....
    Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garwood View Post
    A 2 car garage worth of equipment in a 6k sq ft industrial building?
    The “and some others” is actually about a dozen machines, and more are bought but not here yet. One decision I’ve been sweating over for months is whether to buy a particular 28”x280 10-ton 25 hp engine lathe. We have next to no work for it but the thing is a work of art, and I’d like to save it from the scrap heap “for posterity.” Two drawbacks are rigging/transportation cost and WTF I’d do with it when I close up shop and retire in several years. It’d make a great yard ornament but zoning laws here and the Ms’s dim view of it tend to rule that out.

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    My shop has a pair of 480V bus bars running down the middle of the ceiling. That's really handy.

    On the other hand, it's a bigger space with more than one row of machines. For a long skinny 6k shop (45 ft x 135 feet approximately?) along the walls is your only real option: you don't have the width to make two aisles with decent forklift access after the usual wall-based clutter catchers.

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    I worked in one shop that was a rental. To keep possession of as much wiring as possible the boss had the brake, shear and ironworker connected with cabtire rather than conduit. If the conduit and wire was lagged to the building it became part of the building and you had to leave it when you moved out. Similarly none of the machines were lagged to the floor. Best check with your rental agreement along with the electrician.

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    Thanks for the info so far. We still have our original shop a block away, about same size but “Power- challenged” with only 100 amps of 208 v. But after comments on dust problems I think I’ll leave the major dust and crud generators at the old location.

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    I used to be an industrial electrical contractor and wired lots of places like yours. If it were me I'd purchase some USED 400-800 amp bus duct and run it right down the length of the building. Lots on Ebay at the moment. Don't forget the plugin switches, they can add a lot of cost so grab as many as you can. If you install it about 1/3 of the way across the building you can feed machines along one wall and machines in the center and be able to reach the switches with the switch pole from the aisle. Bus duct allows you to have heavy power anywhere and move equipment at will, because whatever layout you come up with today will change. Installing bus duct is mechanical work, not electrical. Hang all the duct yourself and get your electrician to run a feed to. The large capacity of the duct will keep the voltage drop to a minimum and you can feed it now with whatever is available currently. Use a lot more power in the future just upgrade the feeder. Run your air lines right along side the bus duct too.

    If you don't already own one get a manlift too. We bought a used one before we moved. Used it to take everything down at the old location, and to put everything back up at the new location. We use it now to reach all the stuff stored up high over the machines on pallet racks.

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    I'm with Gary- I suggest looking for a used scissor lift. It will pay for itself quick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oldwrench View Post

    Remember that in a machine shop, walls eventually grow inward toward the center because people lean stock and other stuff against them. It's difficult and time-consuming to clean behind machines that are against walls. Also, most CNCs require access from all sides.
    I agree with Oldwrench,
    When ever possible I would prefer machine tools to be positioned away from walls. Use your walls for vertical storage,like shelves or tool cabinets. Don't forget that this project should include your air supply and gas furnace plumbing.

    Take your time in figuring out this task. Don't let an electrician determine this, this is your baby. A job well done here will pay dividends for years to come.

    You'll know right away if your layout is good, the space will look and feel larger even after all the equipment is in place.

    send us some pictures when your done,
    otrlt

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    I forgot one of the most important facets of an installation; LIGHTING.
    otrlt

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    In 2013 we added a 3000sf space in the building we were already in. The building has 480V at 1500A but the new area had nothing but lights, not even an accessible panel, and a wall on only one side, 10' chain link for the other 3. I was lucky to find a friend-of-friend electrician willing to install used equipment. He recommended a twin buss duct hung near the far side from the wall, and a surface raceway on the wall with 120, 208 and 480V receptacles snapped in along the length. He found two used buss packages on ebay - a 120/208 and a 480V, with a pallet of plug-in disconnects for about 15% of new. That stuff is so expensive, wouldn't have been able to even consider it new. The hangers also carry an air line. It's been great, easy to adapt as I figure out what business we're in. Haven't had to ask him back to do anything.

    The more expensive part of the project was an overhead run from the switchboard to feed a new 480V panel and adjacent step-down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toolbert View Post
    The hangers also carry an air line.
    Before you do that, read up on air. NOT did I say loud enough NOT level !! And do the feeds and such properly. Dry air is GOOD !!

    If you have a product, cells are something to consider.

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    I really like busway (bus duct is conduit you put of bunch of wires in hence the "duct" part. Busway is the good stuff with copper bars and plug in breakers).

    My last shop I had some really old used busway to put up and it worked, but it was worn out and a little sketchy to use. When I built my current shop I watched out for a deal on the stuff and ended up buying a lifetime supply of nearly new square D 225 AMP busway and breakers for $1500. Maybe 2% of new price. I bought it from a contractor who was remodeling buildings for a nearby school district.

    +1 for the scissor lift as well. After renting them a few times I bought a nice used optioned out JLG for $2500. I use the hell out of it. The price of them goes up and down with the economy, but anything less than 10 years old with good batteries under $3k is a great deal. $150/day to rent one adds up quick. In addition, the slightly older ones have less really annoying safety stuff and are still OSHA safe.
    Last edited by Garwood; 12-18-2017 at 06:55 PM.

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    Thanks. I’ve been convinced that bus ducts are a good way to go and have begun the search for a set in an acceptable current range, preferably a set Including the feed box. With the comments about keeping grinding away from precision machining fresh in mind, this AM I noticed a new-looking fume chamber for sale and bought it. Has a door at one end, intake vents near the floor, a conical roof topped by a vent-pipe connection. I already have some high-powered blowers I’d connect to the roof vent and exhaust it outside the warehouse. We might put a grinder or two in that chamber and find a way to keep dust from being tracked outside of it.


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