Minn.’s Virnig Manufacturing Grows From Humble Roots
Virnig Manufacturing and Welding has come a long way since its humble beginning in 1989.
📅 Wed May 13, 2015 - West Edition
Inventory and materials control have been optimized to cut down on waste and mistakes. This is the parts and materials receiving and storage area.
Virnig Manufacturing and Welding has come a long way since its humble beginning in 1989. Established in a two-car garage, just outside of the city limits of the rural community of Pierz, Minn., Dean and Lois Virnig started Virnig Manufacturing and Welding.
The Virnigs business started with repair work for local farmers and construction companies in Central Minnesota. When it comes to superior service and quality work, word travels fast in a small town, and the Virnigs saw their little business grow quickly.
Within five years of opening the doors, Dean and Lois moved from their makeshift shop into a larger building and expanded into manufacturing skid loader attachments and dump trailers, subsequently changing their name to Virnig Manufacturing Inc.
High product demand and limited space warranted additions in 1994, 1997 and 1999. Finally, the Virnigs decided to build a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Rice, Minn., in 2001.
In 2010, the Virnigs constructed an additional facility across the parking lot to add more workspace. Finally, in spring 2015, the newest addition was built to accommodate a powder coat paint system, new assembly space, and shipping area.
• 28,500 sq. ft. (2,647 sq m) addition jumped to a 73,000 sq. ft. (6,781.9 sq m) total
• Fully automated powder coat paint system with three stage wash
• From engineering and cutting raw materials to machining, welding and painting the finished product, all steps of the manufacturing process are done in-house.
Virnig has applied an innovative “self-guided workforce” model with working leads responsible for each production area. The employees in each area are responsible for meeting their daily goals set by the production schedule. To aid this organizational structure, Virnig is also implementing a kitting process supplying each employee with all the items required to complete the scheduled job at hand. Internal processes and space usage are constantly reviewed to find greater accuracy and efficiency within the manufacturing process. With such stringent quality control measures Virnig can offer a product warranty that few can match.
Each attachment is tied to a serial number and inventory control system from start to finish. This allows configuration of product options, while still maintaining accurate order fulfillment. Computer terminals are being implemented throughout the build areas for employees to reference during the manufacture process, which will also give them the ability to review 3D models of the various attachments and configurations. These provide real time updates and product adjustments. With the major additions and state of the art paint system Virnig is poised for continued growth.
Internal expansions and optimization of existing space will be continuing over the near future to establish the greatest efficiency in Virnig’s manufacturing process.
The automated paint system was custom built for Virnig Manufacturing and meets the specific challenges and requirements Virnig was looking for. Parts are hung on a track system moving up to 5 f. (1.5 m) per minute and start by going through a three stage wash system that degreases, chemically treats against corrosion, and seals the metal. Parts then travel through a drying oven set at 200 degrees for 15 minutes.
The dry part next enters an environmentally controlled paint room where temperature and humidity are regulated to ensure there is no variation in the paint application process. The powder paint is electrostatically charged to ensure an even coat of Virnig Charcoal Grey ultra-durable, UV resistant powder. The paint bay itself is can handle parts up to 8 ft. (2.4 m) high, 4 ft. (1.2 m) wide by 10 ft. (3 m) long. This can accommodate larger attachments or custom order contracted products from other manufacturers. After being coated with powder the parts are baked in a large oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes. The baking process causes the powder to melt and bond to the parts. After a 1 hour cool down period the parts are fully cured allowing rapid assembly and shipping. The entire trip through the system takes 2 hours and 45 minutes and allows for growth of more than four times current levels.
Product quality is the number one priority at Virnig, according to Dean Virnig, president of Virnig.
“The quality of the products matches the quality of the company. We value our customers, value our people and value our products,” said Virnig.