ERJ staff report (TB)
Ladoux, France − Group Michelin officials laid the cornerstone at the firm’s Ladoux research campus on 16 December for a multi-story building that will be the anchor of the firm’s $370m (€268m), six-year renovation/upgrade of its R&D facilities in France, reported Tire Business.
The new building, called Campus RDI (Research, Development, Industrialisation), will be the tallest building on the sprawling campus and eventually host 1,600 workers in 721,000 square feet (66,980 sq metres) of space.
Construction will last until 2018, Michelin said, although the first part of the building will be completed by year-end 2015, when 600 employees will be able to start working.
More than 60 percent of the investment, or about $230m (€167m), is devoted to the RDI alone, Michelin said.
The architecture of the new campus is designed to enhance the speed and flexibility of ways of working; and among the ideas is to create 80 modular “working platforms” of about 3,200 square feet (297 sq metres) each where 20 technicians can work in a “transverse and multidisciplinary” fashion. This mingling of disciplines previously isolated from each other is designed to strengthen the power of innovation and accelerate the marketing of products, the company said.
Other features include a media room with 250 seats, an area dedicated to scientific and technical communication, an exhibition hall, a canteen, sports facilities, a bakery, many concierge services and a 1,040-foot (317-metre) long atrium − called “Innovation Street” − that will be built over two of the complex’s test tracks.
When completed the site will accommodate 3,300 of Michelin’s R&D staff in France, representing more than 350 trade disciplines in connection with research teams spread across other continents.
The R&D campus upgrade, codenamed “Urbalad,” started in 2011 with the razing of much of the centre’s existing structures to make way for the RDI.
The Ladoux complex, near Michelin's corporate headquarters in Clermont-Ferrand, covers 1,100 acres (445 hectares) and has 19 test track layouts covering 25 miles (40.2 km) in length.