“Andreas, tell me, in Domat/Ems, there’s this maze of scaffolding. Please could you explain what it’s for?”

Media report29.08.2022

At the Industrial Park Vial in Domat/Ems, Hamilton has been engaged in a construction project for over a year. Andreas Wieland, Chairman of the Board of Directors, explains what the giant maze of scaffolding is all about.

For more than 20 years, he has managed the fortunes of the Graubünden-based, high-tech company in Hamilton, with its business locations in Domat/Ems and Bonaduz. Until a year ago, Andreas Wieland was CEO. Today, the 68-year-old serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hamilton Bonaduz AG and Hamilton Medical AG. Despite the fact that he is no longer CEO, Andreas remains the face of the company. Over the past few months, he has therefore been asked repeatedly, by both acquaintances and strangers alike: “Andreas, tell me, in Ems, beside the motorway, there’s this scaffold within a scaffold, this tangled maze of scaffolding. You know what I mean? What is that?”

Andreas, tell me, in Ems, beside the motorway, there’s this crazy mess of scaffolding, this maze of scaffolding like a tangled web. You know what I mean? What is that?”

Andreas Wieland

Chairman of Hamilton’s Board of Directors

We’re aiming high

Just another two flights of scaffolding stairs and we’re there. Together with Achim Sax, Construction Project Manager at Hamilton, we climb the 33-meter-high edifice at the Industrial Park Vial. Upon reaching the top, we are greeted by a strange view. In fact, it appears to be a scaffold within a scaffold – we can see a metal frame connected to a metal frame. So Achim Sax explains: “This ‘scaffold’ is a high-bay warehouse. This will be used to store finished and semi-finished products, as well as parts and components.” These will be labeled with a barcode. They can then be extracted by mobile robots and taken to the relevant work area, as and when they are needed. The warehouse will eventually house 12,304 palettes.

This scaffold is now a high-bay warehouse. It will be used to store finished and semi-finished products, as well as parts and components.

Achim Sax

Construction Project Manager at Hamilton

The construction works began over a year ago, in late July 2021. It is the second Hamilton building to be erected at the Domat/Ems site, after the first building was opened by the company in 2018. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, the company grew considerably in the areas of both ventilators and laboratory automation machinery. Or, as Andreas chose to put it on the occasion of the first symbolic cut of the spade just over a year ago: “We are bursting at the seams.” Construction of the building is expected to finish next year. Meanwhile, the total costs have been projected to reach CHF 65 million – up to 300 new workstations are being created in the eight-story building.

We are bursting at the seams.

Andreas Wieland

Chairman of Hamilton’s Board of Directors

The robots are coming

Following a short interim stop on the roof of the high-bay warehouse, we have now descended back down from the structure and are seated in the office of Project Manager Sax. From his laptop, he projects a 3D model of the new building onto a large screen, which depicts each individual component of the new building. “The building consists of an intermediate building, which links the existing building to the new building, a massive construction to house production facilities, offices and a high-bay warehouse.” At present, the latter is still empty. “However, that is due to change by as early as September”, remarks Project Manager Sax. To be more specific, this is when the four heavy, high-bay warehouse handling robots – each weighing 13 metric tons – are due to be installed. These can travel vertically through the “scaffold” like an elevator, or horizontally like a forklift.

The high-bay warehouse situated in the Domat/Ems building will have the capacity for 12,304 palettes.

The high-bay warehouse functions as follows: From their workstations in another part of the building, Hamilton employees enter the required product, raw material or semi-finished product into a computer and the robot then travels to the relevant palette, picks up the item and brings it to them. The process is fully automatic. But even already finished Hamilton products such as ventilators can be stored there temporarily and then retrieved again. According to Project Manager Sax, the high-bay warehouse could commence operating by as early as next spring – construction of the rest of the new building will then be completed by the end of the following year.

65 million Swiss francs: This is how much the new Hamilton building at the Industrial Park Vial in Domat/Ems is set to cost.

Questions are welcome

Andreas Wieland, Chairman of the Board of Directors, cannot spare the time to tour the construction site with us today. He was in Romania only last week, where Hamilton has a large production site, in order to inspect a “major construction project”. Andreas is a busy man. However, the Chairman of the Board of Directors had it stated in writing that he is pleased when people inquire about the scaffold or other developments at the firm. In strategic terms, he regards the new building as pivotal. “During the pandemic, we had to rent storage areas across the whole of Switzerland. But right now it is important and vital for us to have our materials on site.” Work on the interior fittings for the high-bay warehouse is expected to begin in the next few weeks – and the forest of scaffolding will slowly disappear.

Further Information

I can put my theoretical knowledge into practice here.

Adrian Joost

Working Student, Hamilton Medical AG

The result is an innovation for humanity, and this makes me extremely proud.

Jonas Hilti

Control Technology Engineer, Hamilton Bonaduz AG

We have always associated Switzerland with beautiful scenery, great quality of life and diverse culture.

Barbara Liebl

Team Leader HR Business Partner, Hamilton Services AG
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