The Dürr Group has opened a new $40 million technical center in Southfield, renovating a former DTE Energy call center in order to consolidate its three existing metro Detroit locations in Auburn Hills, Plymouth Township, and Wixom.
Dürr is a global mechanical and plant engineering firm that works primarily in the automotive industry and is based in Stuttgart, Germany. The company is the number one global builder of automotive paint shops.
The renovated facility, which includes a newly-constructed 100,000-square-foot building for testing, training, and valuation centers, opened earlier this year, bringing nearly 500 jobs to Southfield.
The Dürr Group has been in Southeast Michigan for over 45 years. The company states that consolidation of all of its Michigan locations into one center was essential to Dürr’s continued growth and to customer relationships within the North American market.
The Southfield campus offers a new platform for communication that allows customers to save a great deal of time, especially where large system-based projects are concerned. Customers can now easily interact face-to-face with contacts from all of the various divisions, which used to be spread out across the three separate facilities.
Dürr also profits internally from this close proximity as it streamlines communication within the company itself. Engineering, service and sales employees all work on the same floor without any partitions. The result is that people can actually see each other and talk with one another without having to schedule an appointment. This makes it easier to exchange information and allows everyone to work together more efficiently.
The company chose Southfield to consolidate its operations because the city is the geographical center of all facilities they already had, which was important to them for the sake of their existing employees (and their commutes). The easy freeway accessibility to I-696 and M-10 were also an attractive draw.
“Southfield did a great job in supporting our project and it was the right choice working with such an experienced and open-minded partner,” says Astrid Weisseise, Marketing Manager for Dürr Systems Inc.
They also wanted to remain in Oakland County because, Weisseise says, “Oakland County is very well known for their support for the high tech companies. We’ve experienced it already in Auburn Hills.”
The new campus is an ultra-modern, energy-efficient center for engineering, research, and equipment testing. There is a Research & Development area and a state-of-the-art center for validation, testing and training. This flexible area will be used by multiple divisions to formulate new ideas, innovations, and technologies.
As a renovation, the project focused heavily on reusing the space in new ways. Dürr reused the existing structure and incorporated innovative, cost-effective, energy-saving technologies, demonstrating their commitment to sustainability and energy conservation. They received the 2015 Southfield Business Award for Sustainability for showing “a dedication in progressing to making a commitment to green innovation in their practice, both within their own organization and in the sector as a whole.”
Some of the integrated energy-efficient features of the new campus include a variable refrigerant flow system (one of the largest in Michigan); dual-pane, insulated, and tinted windows throughout; skylights to provide natural lighting in the new addition; 100% LED lights throughout the interior of the buildings as well as the exterior spaces; and maintained natural landscape features.
Renovation work started in January 2015 and occupancy of the new campus began in January 2016.
In 2015, Dürr generated global automotive sales of $2.45 billion. The company’s significant investment in Oakland County helped propel the $357 million in direct foreign investment received by the county in 2015.