UCLan helps with company's lockdown move

Granite House has moved its operations from Southport to Preston during the lockdown with the assistance of a specialist University of Central Lancashire service.

The company, which produces granite and quartz worksurfaces, had been planning the move before its access to the new premises became restricted by lockdown restrictions.

Digitalplus, a European Regional Development Fund-funded project run by UCLan, stepped in to scan the new factory while it was empty. The team was able to create an exact replica of the floor space on a computer, including lighting, doors, windows, electrical cabinets and internal structures.

Using this alongside 3D scans of the company’s current machinery allowed the team to introduce work stations and processes throughout the workshop, allowing the management team to determine the best layout while working from home.

The team then incorporated extra features including walkways, pipes, fencing and drains to create a workable demo of how the new factory would operate, and the best possible layouts available for the floor space.

The virtual factory was then incorporated into virtual reality headsets, enabling management and the company’s 55 members of staff to test the flow of the site before it was installed.

Geoff Hill, marketing director at Granite House, said: “It is was a pleasure working with the talented and professional team at Digitalplus. Their use of cutting edge technology enabled us to accurately plan the layout of new our premises and has saved us from making costly mistakes.”

Digitalplus provides a range of creative, marketing and technical specialists, to support Lancashire businesses to embrace digital technology to attract new customers and increase the workforce.

The support is available and free to any Lancashire businesses with fewer than 250 employees trading business to business with an annual turnover not exceeding £43m  or an annual balance sheet total not exceeding £37m.