Wired for Wyandotte

For many years, Windemuller has been designing and building control panels for a variety of different automation projects. However, we hadn’t yet expanded into the utility panel market. Compared to our standard control panels, utility panels are substantially larger and have completely different wiring schemes and layouts. In line with our mission to be the preferred partner in innovative technical service we were ready to tackle this type of, as yet unexplored, panel building. The opportunity presented itself when the City of Wyandotte in Wayne County, Michigan launched a project to upgrade its utility power infrastructure. Wyandotte needed a company that could supply five utility panels, and Windemuller got the job.

The Challenge

The biggest challenge of this project was the learning curve. The wiring schemes for the panels were reversed from what we normally do with control panels, and the wire itself was rubbery and difficult to maneuver. We needed to follow the crimping standards for utility projects, which meant using a special crimping tool to crimp every single wire in each of the five panels. We also had to heat-shrink labels for each wire connector—different from our labeling standards for most control panels. As a result, the project ended up taking a bit longer than we had initially expected.

The Solution

Windemuller, our team members are nothing if not adaptable, and we were proud to see how they met the challenges of this project head-on. By the time we were working on the third panel, we had gotten into a rhythm and had started to master the utility panel process. While the learning curve was certainly a challenge—and inevitably so, given that this was our first utility panel project—getting past that obstacle was a very positive thing. Our team members gained new skills and will be ready to apply them for our next utility panel job.

We also got a major compliment from the client at the end of the project, when we were told our panels were among the best they’d seen in a long time. Our panels looked fantastic and delivered the function that the City of Wyandotte required. Some of the credit also goes to Coxline, Inc., a Kalamazoo-based company that we hired to do laser-cutting, welding, and powder-coating for each of the five panels. A big part of the Windemuller promise is to deliver quality work on every level—from function to aesthetic. The fact that we were able to deliver grade-A utility panels on our first time out bodes well for our future in this market niche.

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