Designed for Performance

Harvey Performance Company
Gorham, ME

After Harvey Performance Company acquired Helical Tool Company in 2018, the growing organization embarked on the design of a new and advanced manufacturing facility specializing in cutting tools for precision machining applications in Gorham, ME. The operation needed to establish a world-class experience for visitors, creating a cutting-edge and exceptional workplace environment while accommodating strategic consolidation and future expansion.

The new 76,290 sf building incorporates office, testing, and manufacturing space with infrastructure designed to expand to 110,000 sf. Its primary manufacturing operations cover CNC production, honing, etching, parts washing, coating, and quality control. At the onset of the Harvey project, SMMA spent a full day with Harvey Performance’s Executive Group, including president Peter Jenkins. Peter and his team’s vision and goals were clear: they saw this new facility fostering the integration of their brands and culture, delivering exceptional experiences to both customers and employees.

Exterior shot of Harvey Performance Center on 49 Raceway Drive

Upon Arrival

Harvey’s outward appearance leaves a memorable first impression when approaching the building:

Office and manufacturing functions were developed with different shapes and varying roof elevations to break down the massing of the overall building. They create two distinct volumes and add architectural character to the facility: the higher for manufacturing, and the lower for office.

With the major points of the building facing south and west, the recess of plane, sloped eaves, and overhanging soffits are coupled with angled walls that articulate and announce the building’s entry points. They form interesting shadow patterns on the southeast face of the building throughout the course of the morning and afternoon.


The layout, entry location, and flow design optimize the sun’s heat and lighting through their orientation.

Several materials utilizing different colors and textures were incorporated to respond to the Town’s desire for multiple material and design expression. They include flush and ribbed insulated metal panels on the main façade, a ribbed metal rainscreen panel system as an accent, a metal plank rainscreen system over the office space, flush metal panel systems at the entries, an aluminum and glass curtainwall, and storefront window systems.

Corridor and research spaces at Harvey Performance Facility

State-of-the-Art Experiences

Upon entering, the new facility offers an abundance of specialized areas to its employees and visitors. Its office space combines an open layout with a variety of private offices and supervisor, staff, and touch-down workstations. Several phone, huddle, and meeting rooms, in addition to a large training room, foster collaboration among staff. Additionally, an outdoor seating area, large café, and employee activity center provide a healthful environment. Visitors to the building will also have access to a customer experience area near the front entrance, which houses conference rooms, a hands-on R&D lab, and prototype displays.


Harvey Performance Facility cafe and dining room in Gorham, ME

Creating Pathways

The Harvey’s tool hall was created to impress, highlighting their exceptional engineering tool sets, processes, and people. SMMA’s engineers designed a series of complex systems and equipment to optimize the facility’s manufacturing process. It all came down to organization.

How do you arrange these complexities in a functional way that complements both the horizontal and vertical planes of the building? 
 Diagram of Utility Pathway at Harvey Performance Center designed by SMMA
Thus, the team established horizontal pathways for the utilities. Based on size, weight, and requirements, they were able to strategically layer each utility below the building structure. The largest pieces of equipment, which include HVAC systems such as cooling and exhaust ducts, are located both vertically and horizontally to bring a certain cadence to the space. Engineers on the project fondly refer to these pathways as a ‘club sandwich,’ with the building structure and floor serving as the ‘bread,’ and the many layers in between creating the ‘meat.'
Another unique feature of the tool hall is a Unistrut suspension system, hung directly from the steel structure every few feet. This categorizes all major systems that run across it, including the main power feed to all the tools, compressed air lines, and the cable tray. To ensure that the systems do not impact the human experience, the people-facing areas of the floor plan incorporate plentiful space, airflow, and supplemental lighting to give workers room to run the utilities and to eliminate shadows cast by the ductwork above.
  • Milling tool used at Harvey Performance Center in Gorham, ME
  • Differently sized milling bits at Harvey Performance Center
  • Close up of a milling tool used at Harvey Performance Center in Maine

In the Trenches

An even deeper story occurs five feet underground, spanning about 150 feet across the tool hall floor. Since each piece of machinery serves a different function in the steel-cutting process, separate equipment exists to grind the metal, polish it, hone it, and coat it. To support these functions, each machine is fed with an oil supply from a large trench. The oil is used to lubricate the steel that the machines cut, creating Harvey’s product.

The trench also houses two 8-foot gravity drains, and an additional two pairs of oil supply and return lines used for equipment cooling. The lubrication oil is temperature controlled, meaning that the oil temperature is equal to the space and blank temperature. This prevents thermal expansion due to eliminating temperature differences. Additionally, an addressable leak detection system allows facility workers to pinpoint leak locations as soon as they occur.

Hand drawn diagram showing oil supply from a large trench at Harvey Performance Center
"We ended up thinking about the oil piping in the trench in anatomical terms,” says Mark O’Brien, Chief Mechanical Engineer at SMMA. “The oil filtration system has several pumps in it, serving as the heart of the project. The mains carry the pressurized oil up to the end of the trench, be it cutting tool or the cooling. So, the oil supply is the veins and the returns are the arteries.”

A Journey of Discovery

The facility seamlessly blends both the office and manufacturing sides of Harvey’s business by an accessible tour aisle, bringing individuals on a visual journey throughout the building. The aisle provides clear views from the offices to the tool halls, and vice versa, through large glass windows and walls. This intentional usage of glass also introduces natural light and outdoor views to all areas of the building, ensuring that its occupants maintain a connection to nature. Ultimately, the new facility exists as a place to learn from one another, an innovation hub, and a showcase of Harvey’s best work.

Technicians walking across shop floor at Harvey Performance Center in Gorham