Soundcraft Studer's production strategy; to converge both brands production in the Potters Bar facility, passed a significant milestone this week. With UK production now in full swing, the first Studer Vista large-format consoles were completed and went through test procedures with flying colours.
Formerly Vista, OnAir 3000 and Router production was done in the Studer Regensdorf facility near Zurich in Switzerland. Speaking from the Potters Bar production floor, Soundcraft Studer President Andy Trott reflected, “Over the past few months our staff here and in Switzerland have worked incredibly hard to transfer the knowledge, logistics and skills to the UK team, and so to see our flagship product come through its rigorous tests so smoothly today is a great testament to the quality of our people on both sites. From planning and procurement, to PCBA, build and test, I have to salute the production team and all the supporting staff for an amazing job well done.”
To accommodate the additional workload the UK plant has doubled its production floor-space and added over 20 staff. Vice President of Operations, Nigel Beaumont added, “The UK factory has gone through a massive transformation over the last few years. Five years ago we invested $7m installing the most advanced PCBA line in Europe. Now we have added hi-tech cell manufacturing based on LEAN methodologies in order to assemble, configure and test our products in Potters Bar. We also handle NPI prototype manufacturing from this facility, the key rule is; prototype and configurable products are handled here and the bulk of our other products are assembled offshore. That means Studer Vista, OnAir and Router products and customer configured Soundcraft Vi Series are finished and shipped from Potters Bar. Most of these products are built to specific customer requirements, so having all this under one roof improves our efficiency and yield considerably and provides our customers with the opportunity to come and inspect progress on their orders.”
The business is also in the process of constructing the largest console demonstration and customer centre in the world. The facility in Potters Bar will also house two large Customer Acceptance Test (CAT) rooms, a large multi-media training suite and three large, interconnected studios in order to showcase live, broadcast and production technologies. Trott explained, “This investment is a commitment to our customers and products. Many of our clients want to check and approve the systems before their installation takes place and we will also be able to offer them a superb environment to train their staff. We also plan to support industry associations, societies and educational establishments by allowing the centre to be used for meetings and conferences.”
The centre will also be host to the largest collection of Soundcraft and Studer mixing and recording exhibits spanning over 40 years. The Soundcraft Studer Heritage Centre will provide visitors a unique journey through both company's pasts including many of the world's most famous studio tape recording machines ranging from the famous Abbey Road Studer J37 first used on The Beatles' Sgt Pepper's album, the first ever touring Console - the Soundcraft Series 1, right through to the latest and greatest digital technologies from both brands.
Trott Concludes, “Harman's strategy is to focus on Centres of Excellence and by Christmas we will have moved our Regensdorf team to the beautifully equipped new Console Technology Centre focusing entirely on new product development; this includes R&D, Product Management, Projects, Customer Service and Production Engineering. Potters Bar will continue to focus on Production, Marketing, Engineering, Sales, and Service and supporting functions. We've now reached the right balance between our two sites - harnessing the benefits of UK engineering and production excellence in Potters Bar and Swiss design and innovation in Regensdorf. I'm very proud that when most other companies have cut their investment we have increased ours by another $1.5million, that's got to be good for our customers and the market as a whole.”
Photos: Vista 8 Team 2: Andy Trott and some of the UK and Regensdorf production staff with the first Vista 8 to come off the Studer production line
Vista 5 team: First Vista 5 and UK/Swiss production team