Factory Tours

A recurring topic here is what is available to see at different locations while travelling. While at the library, I ran across a book which might help. Company Museums, Industry Museums. and Industrial Tours: A Guidebook of Sites in the United States That Are Open to the Public. Author: Doug Gelbert. ISBN 0-89950-916-9.Hope someone might find this useful. Mike

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The university's library has it and it's available, imagine that. I'll have to remember it for when I take trips. I really enjoy watching those shows that show how things are made. I did some work at a factory once that made screws, bolts, hand-grenade pins, etc. It was fascinating. They had one vibrator that would vibrate small screws *up* a small spiral incline from a pile of them in the bottom, separate them into one at a time and then orientate the screw properly to be automatically inserted into a machine that did something, forget what.

Who comes up with these ideas?


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John Flanagan

Probably roll threading the screws. Common everyday bowl feeder. Neat as hell to watch though, until you have seen a couple thousand of them and the associated machines..and had to fix them...

Swiss gnomes


"What do you call someone in possesion of all the facts? Paranoid.-William Burroughs

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Vibratory feeders are cool, they can orient and feed complex parts in a way that you'd have trouble doing with advanced machine vision and robotics, using 1930s electromechanical technology. In some cases, it's easier to feed parts in one of, say, two orientations (maybe a rod has a cross hole in one end and not in the other), and detect which ones are wrong later on and just flip them back into the bowl. I'm sure there's a bit of mechanical eng involved in their design.

Have not worked much with the bowl feeders, but I designed a control system that operates linear vibratory feeders at their exact resonant frequency (synthesizing the AC sinusoidal waveform) and the desired amplitude (using a sensor and PID loop for feedback) to accurately control feed rates for feeding powder and granular materials.

Best regards, Spehro Pefhany

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Spehro Pefhany

As I recall, Inland Steel or US steel gave tours once a year to workers and their families of their production facilities, but of course OSHA has stopped all that. What a way to encourage kids to study engineering. Don Warner

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Don Warner

When I was an apprentice, (a long time ago) I used to get called every couple of months or so to guide a group of people through the plant. People from all walks of life distinctly remember the "Retired engine drivers group" The factory was Philips Electronic Industries, & had everything from valve (tube) manufacturing, cathode ray tubes (television screens) television, radio, 2 way radio, press shop, machine shop, semiconductor manufacturing facility, record players, electric razors. Obviously most of these groups were retired & had no idea what was manufactured in house. A real eye opener for them & many great afternoons for me. (factory had about 3 thousand employee's when I was there, not so anymore.)

Cheer's, Ian Sutherland. (Oz)

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Ian Sutherland

Yeah, back in '70 I was on a public factory tour at the Ford Rouge plant. Nothing like being 9, staring down into a soaking pit from a 100' open catwalk. You could feel the heat. :-)

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