June 18, 2018
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Loring rebuild center looks to new facilities

By Natalie Bazinet Aroostook Republican & News, Special to the BDN

LIMESTONE, Maine — A building shift for the Maine Military Authority may help it increase work flow and efficiency.

MMA now uses two major facilities: one they affectionately named “Blue Goose” at 32 Connecticut Road in Limestone’s Loring Commerce Centre and a Caribou facility at 65 Access Highway owned by the city of Caribou. MMA officials are working to fully occupy two facilities at the Loring Commerce Centre — the Howit-zer Building and the former Pattison Sign Building — in an attempt to increase project flexibility and to handle a wider variety of equipment.

MMA Executive Director Tim Corbett said the authority is already leasing the Pattison Building and expects an environmental inspection of the Howitzer Building to be done by the end of September

The idea behind using the two side-by-side buildings is that their wide-open spaces — 119,000 square feet in the Pattison Building and approximately 114,000 in the Howitzer Building — would allow for a more linear approach to MMA’s assembly process. In theory, a broken vehicle would enter one side of the Pattison Building and emerge shiny, like new and running from the other side of the Howitzer building.

“When you have wide-open spaces, you can do smaller programs efficiently, and that’s going to be the key in the future of MMA,” Corbett said. “The day of the large-scale program is pretty much done. We’ll be getting more 15-, 20- and 30-vehicle projects, and when you have a wide-open space, you can change the process and flow much quicker, easier and cheaper and that will help us maintain efficiency and relevance.”

The problem facing MMA efficiency is a relatively disjointed production line based on multiple bays, which means wasted transportation and heating costs.

“We won’t have to take the vehicles outside as much, we’ll be able to save a lot on utilities and gain efficiency by keeping production moving forward in a straight line,” Corbett said.

MMA has multiple structures that each serve various purposes, but no definite word has been given on how the building shifts would affect existing facilities.

“Obviously, if any one of the buildings were to close it doesn’t represent a loss of production or layoffs,” Corbett said. “It is a business decision to increase cost effectiveness and become more competitive in the work field.”

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