Solar Ingot Wafer Manufacturing Facility

SSOE was recently selected to provide full planning, design, and construction administration services for a greenfield solar wafer manufacturing facility.

Having completed FEL 1 and 2 of this project, SSOE provided site readiness requirements and recommendations, Basis of Design, conceptual facility designs and plans, basic cost estimating, and a preliminary design schedule. Throughout FEL 1, SSOE performed value engineering evaluations in which the client approved design solutions totaling approximately $400 million in project savings.

The facility design includes a main process area, wastewater treatment, raw and finished goods warehouses, elevated operating floors, administrative, and office spaces. The scope of the project includes facility layout (civil, structural, architectural), water supply distribution, HVAC, electrical supply and distribution, emergency safety systems, fire protection design, and waste and hazardous material management. In addition to adhering to client standards and code compliance, SSOE is also delivering a sustainable building design.

According to a recent Client Satisfaction Survey, the client noted “They [SSOE] are always looking for the best solution that fits within the budget, of me being the customer. They are constantly offering, I’ll say, brainstormed ideas, or various ideas of how to solve the problem in the most effective way to satisfy the customer.”

Although this is currently a confidential client and project, the client gave SSOE a 10 out of 10 on the survey when answering “how likely they would be to recommend SSOE to a colleague.”

To date, SSOE value engineered project solutions totaling $400 million in savings.

Facility Capacity Upgrades and Improvements

Through the use of reality capture and advanced 3D modeling, SSOE was able to return $1.8 million in project savings to the client.

This global glass manufacturer called upon SSOE to assist with a capacity increase and process improvements at one of its production facilities. Because the project required integration of new equipment into an existing facility, the design team used laser scanning to capture an accurate representation of the space. An added layer of complexity came from the new equipment, which was a one-of-a-kind system. SSOE and the client worked collaboratively to ensure it would meet the desired outcome. The use of advanced 3D technology and laser scanning provided the client with the opportunity to see the proposed facility layout in a virtual environment before moving into the construction phase.

The unique equipment integration brought significant challenges for the design team that required a high degree of flexibility and agility to mitigate rapid changes. Through close collaboration and coordination, the SSOE team delivered a successful project, providing mechanical, electrical, controls, structural, architectural, and environmental design services. In addition to design services, the SSOE team played the role of equipment integrator, assisting with equipment design, commissioning, and start-up.

New Business and Technology Center

Native plantings and selection of low-flow plumbing create $5,000 in water savings annually. Use of highly efficient, sustainable systems and materials saves $5,000 in energy savings annually.

Owens Corning, a leader in the glass fiber industry, selected SSOE to design and engineer a new 27,000 SF Business and Technology Center in Gastonia, North Carolina. Connected to the company’s adjacent state-of-the-art non-woven glass fiber fabric plant, the technology center houses operations offices as well as research and development facilities for advances in Owens Corning bio-based products.

A Focus on Sustainability

Achieving LEED certification for this project was a key client objective. Early in the design process, SSOE led an “eco-charrette” that brought together all stakeholders, designers, and contractors to engage in an integrative process to analyze opportunities for sustainable design. Ideas generated in the charrette led to notable environmental and energy savings accomplishments:

  • The facility consumes 25% less energy than similar structures equipped with conventional systems and materials
  • Achieved 36% water use reduction by installing low-flow metered plumbing fixtures and faucets
  • Used energy efficient glazing along three façades of the building to optimize natural daylight and views of the natural environment

Distinctive Design, Welcoming Entry

Extensive site design resulted in an appealing façade with a welcoming entry and a strong daylight component. Careful evaluation of exterior materials led SSOE to design a unique longboard curtain wall that enhances and unifies the appearance of the building and adjacent manufacturing facility.

Landscape Design Creates Win‐Win Scenario

Restoring natural habitat and removing irrigation from the site was an additional design challenge that resulted in a win‐win scenario for stakeholders and environment alike. Because the industrial park had very strict requirements for site irrigation, SSOE – with the client and the local civil team – created a landscape design featuring native plants
and vegetation.


Furnace Upgrade and Increased Glass Bottle Production

Reduced furnace emissions by converting to oxy-fuel.

When a glass bottle manufacturer wanted to upgrade its furnace and get ahead of potential EPA emissions mandates, it turned to SSOE to define the detailed engineering and construction requirements for the project.

The client had conducted an initial assessment on its own, but wanted to confirm it had considered all aspects of the expansion of its processing facility. They needed to present their stakeholders with accurate estimates for funding approval of the furnace modification. Noting that the EPA was intending to mandate new emissions regulations, the client also wanted to upgrade to a system with lower emissions. As a result, SSOE provided the detailed engineering and construction requirements to convert the furnace to oxy-fuel. After conducting an assessment and outlining the scope of work involved to improve the furnace system, SSOE provided preliminary costs for engineering and construction, as well as procurement of all necessary equipment.

During the planning process, SSOE needed to consider several issues including the relocation of fire lines and a water shed that could not be infringed upon. We also recommended a new electrical power substation for the upgraded oxygen furnace.

Production Line Design

Specifying more economical equipment options saved the client nearly $950,000.

SSOE worked with this long-term client to add a third production line to deliver needed additional capacity of unbonded loose fill fiberglass used for blow-in insulation. Having installed the existing two lines, our team was thoroughly familiar with the process and facility, enabling the firm to utilize an efficient design / build approach and work within tight budget limitations. The addition of the third line significantly increased the facility’s throughput.

SSOE provided controls, electrical, process, and structural engineering services. The design included modification of the existing batch system, installation of a new glass furnace, forming system, and bagger; and addition of a storage area. Variable speed drives and efficient cooling towers resulted in significant energy savings for the facility.

New Shingle Laminator and Facility Expansion

SSOE suggested the use of steel eccentrically braced frames in lieu of ordinary steel moment frames on a new building in a seismic zone saving the client $80,000.

A long-term client enlisted SSOE to design a laminator addition that would enable them to manufacture a new shingle product. This involved reconfiguring the shingle manufacturing process and designing a building to house the new equipment.

The strategy included two major phases: Phase 1 included relocation of the existing packaging system equipment to make room for the new laminator. Phase 2 included the installation of the new laminator and auxiliary systems. SSOE engineered and designed extensive controls to handle process changes to the granule, asphalt, and new laminator system.

The expansion also involved joining a manufacturing facility on one property to an adjacent warehouse facility that was owned separately. Electrical service had to be fed separately to the two adjacent sites and underground piping for a fire main rerouted. SSOE provided architectural, structural, electrical and process controls design, and upgraded the alarm system and fire protection for the expanded facility. The team assisted the client with attaining permits and installation and commissioning of equipment.

SSOE fast-tracked the project in order to meet the client’s schedule for plant start-up and manufacture of the new product.

Glass Research and Development Center

Designed the cullet handling system, which recycles 90% of the manufactured glass.

Emhart Glass, a major equipment supplier for the glass container manufacturing industry, wanted to build their own Reasearch and Development (R&D) center for their container forming and testing equipment. The company previously relied on their clients’ facilities to test equipment, which often meant delays in schedule. Emhart called upon SSOE’s glass manufacturing expertise to design the process systems for the plant.

The unique center includes an actual glass manufacturing plant and quality control laboratories. SSOE developed the building layout and coordinated with a local architect. SSOE designed the complete layout of the center’s batch house, melting furnace, and process equipment. In addition, we worked with Nikolaus SORG GmbH & Co KG on the furnace integration. Our engineers also designed the hot and cold cullet handling system, recycling 90% of the manufactured glass to the batch house.

Other responsibilities included designing the installation of a new IS machine, designing the furnace exhaust system, and coordinating with the utility company to determine proper electrical loads.

“SSOE conducted their work with the high level of expertise and professionalism necessary to enable the plant to become operational 12 months from project approval by our parent company Bucher Industries,” said Steven Pinkerton, Project Manager for Emhart Glass.