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Huge factory to be moved 60m !

In a major engineering operation on Tuesday, a huge former factory building in Zurich-Oerlikon is to be moved 60 metres to an adjacent position by the railways lines and all made possible by a company from the neighbouring canton of Zug. 


As previously reported, the building in question is the beautifully proportioned former head office of the Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon (MFO) built in 1889. The old offices (part of which are now the Gleis 9 restaurant) are in the way of the planned Durchmesserlinie (DML) cross-city rail-link between Oerlikon and Altstetten. Rather than demolish them, the authorities have wisely decided to move them slightly, albeit at a cost of CHF 11 million. The company making it all possible is the Iten AG company with just 13 employees from Morgarten in the canton of Zug.
Actually it is not surprising that this company has been commissioned with the work, after all it has moved several buildings, such as restaurants, churches and bridges over the past 60 years. In 1960 it moved a 160-ton monument to Queen Astrid of Belgium in Küssnacht by 50 metres to make way for a new road, though this is nothing in comparison with Tuesday's monumental project. Indeed, The MFO building is the largest ever building in Switzerland to be re-positioned. 
"As far as we know," said Reto Stadelmann, managing director of the Iten AG company, "it is also the biggest building in Europe to be moved." Unfortunately it will not make the Guinness Book of Records as an even bigger building has been moved in China.


Not unsurprisingly, such is the interest in this engineering operation that it is to be broadcast live on Swiss TV on Tuesday (on SF2 between 10.30 am and 1.45 pm and again between 4 pm and 4.30) as well as on Wednesday (from 6 am).So is 46-year-old Stadelmann feeling nervous with half of Switzerland watching the operation? "I suppose I will be a little more tense than usual but we really have no time to be nervous. The principle of moving any building has been the same since the the times of ancient Egypt," he said. "One cause for concern on this occasion is that the building is being moved length-wise. In previous instances when restaurants have been moved, diners have remained inside during the move, though this will not happen of this occasion.
As for the technical details, the MFO is 80 metres long, 12 metres wide and weighs 6,200 tons. It will be pushed on 500 rollers over the 60-metre distance by two hydraulic presses on six lines with two more in place to correct any deviation from its planned course.

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