Cooler Master EU HQ Tour

The building you see below is the new headquarters of European retail operations for Cooler Master, which was kind enough to invite us out to Eindhoven, The Netherlands, to show us around. While there, we had the chance to speak with various product managers about the design and testing of current as well as future products. We'll have more to share based on these discussions in the coming days and weeks, but for now we'll be looking at some of the cool new features and parts of the building.

*Cooler Master EU HQ Tour Cooler Master EU HQ Tour
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The Building

Construction began in September 2013 and was finished by March 2014. More impressive, however, is that the entire HQ operation was moved into the new building over the course of a single April weekend. Employees left work in Venlo on Friday and were back to work as normal in Eindhoven on Monday, with equipment, local servers and phonelines and even the massive warehouse all successfully transitioned. The new location makes a lot of sense for the growing company as unlike before it's now a short journey from an international airport; one that happens to serve with direct flights four out of seven of Cooler Master's regional EU bases in Berlin, Milan, Paris, Stockholm, Manchester, Moscow and Belgrade.

The new HQ houses 36 permanent employees, most of whom are located in the open plan office space. As well as the usual amenities (canteen, meeting rooms, etc.), the building includes a professional product photography studio, a PSU and cooler testing room (we'll be looking at this in greater detail in future articles) and a gaming room, which you can see in all its glory over the page. However, the largest part is by far the warehouse; more on that below.

*Cooler Master EU HQ Tour Cooler Master EU HQ Tour
Click to enlarge - Forget CPUs, this will keep a building cool

As you'd expect from a modern technology company, the headquarters is built to a high spec, having achieved the highest environmental rating possible in The Netherlands. Low power LED lights are used in the reception and corridor areas, while work spaces are lit with tube lights hooked up to light sensors that measure lux levels at work surfaces and adjust the brightness appropriately. The blinds on the outside automatically raise or lower to control the amount of natural light coming in as well.

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First rate insulation is used throughout, and the building has no need for traditional radiators or air conditioning at all. Instead, there is system of pipes running through all of the floors (including the warehouse) for heating. Any excess heat can be reused and circulated through the building as necessary by its air system, which is also connected to a series of air pumps that use the outside air temperature to heat up or cool down the intake air. The system is capable of bridging an 8°C gap between outside and inside temperatures, such that if it's 30°C outside it can still be 22°C inside. All of this technology (the insulation, floor heating, climate control, heat pumps, lighting, sensors etc.) make up a third of the entire building's cost.

Many will be familiar with Cooler Master's 'stacking' concept, from its original Stacker cases through to the current HAF Stacker chassis, and it doesn't stop there – the new headquarters has all of the necessary permits, foundations, wall fixtures and other installations ready for the rapid construction of another storey should the need to expand arise – how's that for a scalable design?

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As said, the warehouse accounts for the biggest area by far. As you can see, it's pretty massive, but actually 85 percent of Cooler Master's EU shipments come directly from Hong Kong (after all, this nets its customers a better price), with the remaining 15 percent coming from The Netherlands, which acts more as a buffer for when things are needed at short notice. All that space isn't just for Forklift Wars, however, as Cooler Master teased us that there were big plans for significant changes to the business set for next year, though wouldn't be drawn on details.

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Also in the warehouse is the RMA department, with testing facilities and cages and boxes full of spare parts. Cooler Master keeps numerous parts for products that are now out of production. After all, people still use them and if something simple like a power switch fails then Cooler Master is able to supply it for free, charging the customer only for the shipping costs – not a bad way of helping to build customer loyalty.
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