In 1923, the great architect Giacomo Mattè Trucco was chosen to create a modern factory for the car manufacturer Fiat. His design was a magnificent contemporary departure from the baroque building styles that came before. This testament to the industrial era was to become the largest factory in Europe and the very first to be producing solely the most enduring symbol of modernity: automobiles.
By keeping the entire process under one roof, the Fiat factory was a marvel. Also known as the Lingotto, this building would be able to take in raw materials at the bottom and quickly push those up through the factory floors until a car was constructed and ready to race on the rooftop test track. It was a remarkable feat with an unparalleled mass production rate.
Fiat’s was an innovative process that spawned decades of similar factories, all looking for ways to hone and streamline product construction so that their process could be the most expedient possible.
The infographic below shows the evolution of these grand buildings where humans and machines work side by side to create something unprecedented. It’s interesting to note that most of these (seven of them) are devoted entirely to the automobile industry and the other three are also dedicated to transportation (all three for aeronautics of some kind). While some of these are defunct, many stood the test of time and the newest of them all -- Tesla’s Gigafactories -- are not yet complete but demonstrate promise for the future:
- Working smarter: The Hansho Factory built in 1938 in Japan was able to completely reformat the way we develop products. Using the “Kanban System” workers were informed exactly what parts to make and when in order to avoid waste. This expediency made the factory an unmitigated success.
- Developing automation: Obviously, the trajectory of these buildings is one of technological advancement -- the Belvidere Assembly Plant is a classic example of rolling with the times. While this huge plant was built initially in 1965, by 2006 it became the first Chrysler plant to have a fully automated body shop employing over 750 robots.
- Leading with humanization: Advancements in the most modern facilities, such as the factory Tesla built in 2012, takes into account not only the most modern technological marvels but also the lifestyles and needs of its human workforce. With resources like a gym, cafeterias, and natural lighting, Tesla knows that demonstrating care for those that work there makes for a devoted following.
Tesla’s new Gigafactories continue to take this into account and have amped up modern manufacturing with new power sources like a proposed massive solar panel array (when finished, it would be the largest of its kind by far).
However, with the global economy growing and supply chain logistics becoming smarter, it’s possible to look at the whole world as one massive factory floor just waiting to be connected together to usher out the newest products. Our own Lingotto.
Your company might not be prepared to put together an enormous factory but can still benefit from expedient manufacturing and distribution. Third party fulfillment centers offer logistics that make it so you don’t have to be Tesla to expedite your products.
Below, check out the infographic from Red Stag Fulfillment, for a list of manufacturing marvels. These top ten factories can boast a variety of wonders, including some of the largest buildings of all time. Some are so large that they even have their own indoor weather systems.=