Well, 4 actually!! Last week I had the pleasure of taking a client to We-ef's Thailand factory (they also have two primary plants in Germany) as part of a group hosted by We-ef Australia. It was a fantastic insight into the world of We-ef and blew away any preconceived ideas of 'third world manufacturing'... at least for We-ef!
A few photo's and comments, thoughts from the visit...
Firstly, I was impressed by the high level of manufacturing quality achieved in the factory, all done with typical Thai laid back efficiency... from the precision die casting through to the unique We-ef 5CE corrosion protection process. It was the perfect forging of German engineering and Asian manufacturing efficiencies. All dies and moulds are produced in house, ensuring a high level of quality which is mirrored as the product moves down the assembly process. The photo here shows what $10 million worth of dies looks like!
To a lighting geek, the in house test and demonstration facilities were amazing. We-ef have a 'light room' set up to demonstrate various floodlights and compare between differing optics, light sources and even competitor products. This was used to good effect demonstating the range of optics available in the FLA Range as well as the cut off options available.
Then it was onto the other 'room'.... which in fact was the size of medium warehouse, painted black, with a 'light wall' for inground demonstrations and a 'roadway' for demonstrating height and spacing issues. This is obviously something you don't get to experience every day and we made full use of the opportunity to view HPS, MH and Cosmopolis light sources in 'real life' situations... proving what we all believed from our early days with Cosmopolis, that is it's a viable substitute (and in many ways a better alternative to) Metal Halide lamp sources.
The 'light wall' was another fantastic tool for observing what we only get to see during on site mock ups.... lighting effects generated from inground installations. This was the wall famously illustrated in many We-ef promotional shots and it looked as good in real life as it does in the brochures!
Needless to say, we managed to enjoy our 'downtime' with visits to some amazing Thai restaurants (the food is worth the visit alone!) as well as a day cruising down the Chao Phraya River, where we saw vast contrasts in wealth and lifestyles (often cheek by cheek!) and an amazing Bridge (Rama 8 Bridge) that brought visions of a similiar sight across the Waitemata Harbour (a very relevant subject in Auckland right now!)...
Thanks to our fantastic hosts Thomas, Alex & the team from We-ef Thailand as well as Alistair & Michael from We-ef Australia for ensuring our stay was entertaining as well as educational.