The Wall Line

 

Production starts with the most precise robot in our factory, the WBZ-160 beam-center. This saw cuts the top and bottom plates for our wall, and pre-drills for the installation of plumbing, venting and electrical rough-in that is soon to be installed.

It’s all pre-determined by the plans you provide. Everything in our factory is pre-cut: drilled, trimmed, fastened and routed with CNC precision.

Once we’ve got the lumber cut, we move to the Framing Station. This machine produces 40 linear feet of framed wall in about 11 minutes. Because robots are executing the nail pattern, it’s incredibly precise. The nail will never be outside of the stud: no misses here.

The wall comes out of the framing station and moves to our Drywall Bridge Station. Here we put a layer of OSB on the frame followed by a layer of drywall. The OSB is nailed to the stud, while the drywall is glued to the OSB and screwed to the stud. The Drywall Bridge Station is also where any openings in the wall, doors, windows, outlets and switches are precisely cut to perfectly square dimensions.

We leave the Drywall Bridge Station for the Butterfly Table, which raises the wall upright into the Vertical Station where we install the electrical and the fire protection systems. Our electricians are standing at the Vertical Station, tools beside them, working with uncommon speed and accuracy. They don’t have to measure anything because the openings for fixtures, outlets and switches are located and cut for them by our CNC robots. If it’s a plumbing wall, we take it out of the production line at this stage and move it over to our POD production unit for our plumbers to complete the rough-in.

Back to the Vertical Station, we move the wall via trolley to the Insulating Station. The robots lay the wall back down with the stud up and the drywall down, and it’s ready for insulation. You’ve got several different options: batten, denim, rockwool, fiberglass, and dense pack cellulose. Our preferred method is the dense pack cellulose. Because we’re operating in the horizontal and we’re using a vacuum head, we are able to ensure that the cellulose is tight throughout the wall cavity and applied evenly with 3 lbs per square foot of pressure.

From the Insulating Station, the wall moves on to the Exterior Station. Here robots apply the exterior sheathing. Our standard is a Huber product called Zip-R which provides an R value of R-6. Following the application of the exterior sheathing, the door and window openings are cut by our precision robots.

Now we move to the most manual part of our operation -- the Drywall Finishing Station. We tape it, block it, and skim it with our tradesmen.

We come out of the Drywall Finishing Station and move the wall to install windows & doors. A pneumatic gantry picks up the window or door, places it in the pre-framed and cut opening, and secures it in place while our carpenters complete the fastening and flashing. Our standard interior doors are an inch and three quarter solid core.

Now the wall is finished. It’s shrink wrapped and placed on a specially configured pallet that ensures its protection during transportation.

The entire system is managed by optimization software that understands exactly what’s in production, so that the walls are stacked on the pallet in the right order for final installation and assembly.