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Call_Me_Jay's avatar

What industrial processes have you seen in person?

Asked by Call_Me_Jay (12158points) July 3rd, 2016

Recently I met someone who makes machines that make machines. Thinking back, I haven’t been in many factories.

The few I’ve seen were really interesting. In a bread factory, watching loaves zoom by on a convener was kind of humorous.

There used to be a steel plant in my neighborhood, I would stop on the sidewalk to peer inside and watch molten steel poured from a giant ladle. Also they had weird tall vehicles that would carry red hot 20-foot shafts across the street between buildings.

What have you seen?

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18 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

I was at the Boeing plant in Everett Washington a couple years ago and saw the 777 assembly line. Very cool how they build an airplane.

I’ve also been through a couple of different dairies watching the process of making and bottling milk and cheese. Very cool.

Finally, I have been in one of the Amazon book warehouses. It isn’t industrial per se, but it is about fulfillment – how they get the book from the shelf to the conveyer belt to packaging to the the UPS truck in a matter of a few minutes.,

Coloma's avatar

I’ve been to a couple breweries, does that count?
Oh lovely vats of beer. lol

Pachy's avatar

I saw many kinds in my ad agency days, but none more depressing than a meat packing plant. I’ll spare you process details.

CWOTUS's avatar

Well, I’ve worked to help build and repair the plants that make electricity from coal, oil, natural gas, tree bark and nuclear fission. (I’ve also been very briefly exposed to a single penstock from a small hydro plant, but I hardly count that.) During some of that time I’ve also been around paper mills, but not in the paper mill itself. (Those plants are pretty impressive.) The paper mill experience also includes time spent on chemical recovery boilers, which are essentially recycling machines for the chemicals that are used to pulp tree fiber to enable the paper-making (or whatever other cellulose fiber product is being made), and then burning the black liquor that the reduction process creates (which essentially burns the tree saps and liquids, restoring the chemicals so that they can work on the next batch of logs).

And I’ve also had a brief exposure – barely time to walk through the plants – where the pressure parts for those boilers are made: waterwall tube shop, drum shop, header and pipe shop, panel fabrication shop, etc.

imrainmaker's avatar

Dunkin donuts factory..I don’t know if it qualifies as one..)

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Big Rendering plants, where they take dead animals and render them down to make meat meal,and tallow.
Also industrial feed plants.

Cruiser's avatar

I have been inside and had a front row seat to the Bethlehelm Steel plant where they make 3,000 lb slabs of molten steel to be sliced into thin sheets or wire. I also have trained people at the AMOCO Whiting IN gas/oil refinery and learning they then averaged one death a month there got me to promise I would never return there ever. Did repairs in a dozen or so sewage treatement plants which will give you a whole new appreciation for your toilet paper.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

I spent my college years working summers at a Tupperware factory.

The truth is, I liked that assembly line job more than I’ve ever liked any of my white collar jobs since then. Muscle memory kicked in quickly, the hours flew by while I chatted with other ladies, and it was all very stress-free.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Breweries, dairies/creamery, jet-engine factory, JCPenney distribution center, auto tire manufacturer, coffee roaster (30,000 square foot warehouse), submarine factory, OTC pharmaceutical manufacturer, several boat fabricators (large sailboats to dinghies), precision aircraft castings, hospital laundry, Drop Forging company in South Gate, CA (sixty plus years ago we would and watch on hot summer nights from the road) and Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey.

chyna's avatar

I’ve been to a glass plant where they blow the glass into beautiful vases. Amazing how they do this.

anniereborn's avatar

@Pachy Is a meat packing plant where they kill the animals too?

Pachy's avatar

@anniereborn, Yes—at least it was in those days.

Jeruba's avatar

For a while I worked at a metal fabrication plant, where they did stamping of various metal items and parts. I got to see some of the operations, even though I was an office worker. I did think it was neat to see how they made the tools and dies that cut the parts.

Much more interesting have been several visits to printing companies, some with enormous presses, and observe processes such as four-color printing, collating, binding, and stitching: newspapers, books, magazines, catalogs, etc. I found them very exciting.

Once when I was a little kid I visited a potato chip factory in either New Brunswick or Nova Scotia. I thought it was pretty funny to see such huge quantities of potato chips coming down the chute. Other than that it didn’t impress me much.

As for machines, I’ve visited the American Precision Museum in Windsor, Vermont, and found it fascinating. My son talked the curator into letting us in the day before season opening, and he gave us an extended private tour with lots of demonstrations. Both of my sons got “I Like Machines” T-shirts, and I should have got one too.

Oh, yes, and I’ve been to the Rock of Ages Granite Quarry in Barre, Vermont, where the main things they make are tombstones and memorials. That too was much more interesting than I could have supposed.

zenvelo's avatar

I have been all the way through the Jelly Belly factory, seeing how the sugar is poured into vats, mixed with flavors, then cooked and formed.

CWOTUS's avatar

I nearly forgot that I also spent several years at an RTA (ready-to-assemble) furniture plant, where we did everything from laminating particleboard to cutting, drilling, milling and edge-banding the individual pieces and packaging the hardware and fasteners used to assemble the pieces, too.

Also a few additional years at a small division (the smallest division, in fact) of an automotive OEM plant that made rear view mirror actuators (the little servos inside your car’s side mirrors, but also for trucks and buses, too). That was a pretty cool process, since all of the plastic parts of the mechanism were injection-molded in-house and assembled on complex automatic assembly lines that had to be modified just so for each different product.

cazzie's avatar

I don’t know if I can name them all….. give me until after dinner, I’ll have a think.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I though of a couple more.

I used to go to lunch at a 30th floor cafeteria, while a new skyscraper was going up next door. Like most tall buildings these days, it was made with poured concrete, not a steel skeleton. The speed was amazing. They poured a new floor every day.

Another, example is that I worked in a blacksmith shop in college. I could make you a nice set of fireplace tools today if I had access to a shop. We had a coal-fired forge, a 500 lb. anvil, and a powered trip hammer 7 feet tall.

cazzie's avatar

The first one was a class trip to a ‘Scott Paper Mill’. It was huge and they made toilet paper and paper towelling as well as regular paper. Of course I grew up in Wisconsin, so there was an obligatory trip to a Dairy that made cheese. Then there was an engineering shop that tooled specialised pieces for aeroplanes. (I had won a school scholarship they ran) The third was the factory my father worked and where I worked for 7 months. I worked in the office and gave tours. It was another paper making plant. They made typing paper, photocopy paper and tissue paper and wax coated paper and even had their own print shop. I ruined a few pairs of pants backing into the drums of ink they always had sitting along the floor. I loved giving those tours. It was really fun. I was 17–18. Then, I moved to New Zealand. There, I worked with/in canneries, juice factories, breweries, wineries, coffee roasters, sports supply wholesaler, a print shop that ran two different types of printers. It was pretty low tech, but with the right skills, the lithographer and printer made some really nice stuff. I was working as an accounting tech/part owner of an accounting firm so we had clients that made wooden furniture, surf boards, processed fish and other seafood… um… can’t think of anymore there. Here in Europe, I went to several whiskey distilleries in Scotland, right off the plane! YUMMY! I have visited several soap making factories in the south of France. Two are featured here: I don’t think I’ll count the museums.
Yeah, I think that’s about it.

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