In a multitude of ways 2018 was a year of tremendous growth for Ropes Courses Incorporated. Aside from accomplishments such as a fresh new brand identity and 30 countries reached, RCI opened a space in which Clip ‘n Climb® climbing walls can be manufactured and subsequently shipped to awaiting customers. This facility is the third RCI plant located in Allegan, Michigan and currently employs a skilled team of 6 people tasked with construction of the walls.
After 6 months of upgrading the once Haskell Steel building, the plant was operational in July 2018 with the start of production. Since its open date, there have been approximately 33 climbing walls built for customers located within the U.S. as well as abroad with that number continuing to rise. To ensure the entire process runs smoothly there are several distinct areas within the facility where employees work on the walls in stages. The entire plant houses a CNC routing department, a wood finishing area, a paint booth, assembly room and shipping area. There is also a large flatbed printer available that is useful for printing images on a wide range of materials. These different sections of the building together help to construct 16 climbing wall designs that are built onsite and even more are to be added as 2019 progresses.
Before a climbing wall can be shipped off to an eager customer, however, it starts off as 4 by 8 foot high-grade plywood sheets, or other stock material such as clear acrylic panels. The wall is then transferred over to the CNC router bed where a full 8 panel wall can be routed, shaped and drilled in under half a day. After this, the still plywood wall is sent to finishing where it is sanded and prepped for either paint or a clear coat. Sometimes, the acrylic panels will have an image applied or are similarly cut using the CNC router. Lastly, the climbing wall panels are sent to final assembly where the finished, painted panel is fitted with plastic or wood hand holds, LED lights, and other finishing touches.
Through hard work and attention to detail the tight-knit team at Plant 3 produces high quality Clip ‘n Climb® walls ready for facilities around the world. We can’t wait to see the progress made in 2019!