By Greg Bohl, AIA, LEED AP - Architect November 23, 2020
Midwest manufacturing companies have increased their global reach and impact the past few decades, and Douglas Machine Inc., headquartered in Alexandria, Minnesota, is a prime example of this trend. Douglas is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of secondary packaging machines, a $1.5 billion a year global industry that brands and wraps many of the products you find in stores today. Douglas has installed more than 11,000 machines in over 30 countries. Its location just off Interstate 94 connects the company with the rest of the United States. While Douglas’s reach is wide, it is also a backbone for Alexandria’s local economy as the area’s second largest employer.
Over the past decade of Douglas Machine’s growth, Widseth has been there helping plan and design their manufacturing facilities. Widseth’s architects and engineers work with Douglas to optimize their production processes and update facilities for efficiency. Projects completed include campus master planning, multiple office renovations to meet increased space needs, multiple manufacturing additions, HVAC systems and equipment updates, and workflow planning.
Existing site plan of Douglas Machine in Alexandria, MN
Currently under construction, Douglas Machine’s latest expansion project links two buildings to connect manufacturing and assembly areas to storage and shipping areas, bringing everything into a single temperature controlled space for year-round operations. Buildings constructed at different times, site development over the years, and different floor heights posed a challenge to the designers while Widseth’s engineers tackled vacating the city street that separated the buildings and relocating the infrastructure buried beneath it. Widseth’s role as Alexandria’s City Engineer lent insight to the team’s approach to connecting the buildings effectively and efficiently.
Master planning rendering of Douglas Machine in Alexandria, MN
Widseth’s long time collaboration as Douglas Machine’s trusted advisor affords the planners, architects, and engineers a broad perspective of the global manufacturer’s facilities and operations, helping the company adapt to the changing industry, remain competitive, and continue to be a dependable part of the regional economy.
Construction photo of the link between buildings at Douglas Machine in Alexandria, MN
More about the design of Douglas Machine’s expansion is here: Douglas Machine Case Study.