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Old 08-10-2016, 09:24 AM   #21
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Tillamook Cheese in Oregon also has a good tour.

I've been to quite a few of the ones mentioned here as my dad was a big factory tour fan. His favorite was the Mercedes tour in Sindelfingen - he was so excited for that one when they visited us during our time living near Frankfurt. Nice memories.
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:53 AM   #22
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Any auto factory is likely a good bet. We enjoyed the BMW in Spartanburg a lot.

Got a chuckle out of Coors being on the list. At one time worked in breweries as consultant but then as employee of Coors in Golden. At the time it was one of the few remaining breweries where employees could drink on the job; they were trying to get it out of the union contracts elsewhere for safety reasons (ever see bottles zip by at 2,000 a minute?). I remember once arranging a VIP tour for my DF and DW when parents were visiting; DM stayed at house with the two kids. I remember driving by seeing DW's car at the plant about 11 am and thought, cool, they're on the tour! About 2:00 I went by again and the car was STILL THERE! Let's just say DW and DF thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality suite that day! And IIRC you could sample the actual beer as it comes off the filters, before it gets diluted to retail %.
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Old 08-10-2016, 10:54 AM   #23
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When I taught school in Ann Arbor - light years away-, I use to take my class on the Ford tour. What was really neat was the tour of the Rouge Foundry. They had catwalks running all along the top of the ingot soaking pits and you followed that process all the way through rolling out the steel to go to the stamping plant. Then we would go on to the Assembly Plant. I don't think Ford even has a foundry anymore and for liability purposes, I can't imagine letting grade-school children up on the catwalks these days. It was always THE field trip for which my class desired.
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Old 08-10-2016, 11:00 AM   #24
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As a metallurgical engr, I encourage if you can get a tour of a steel mill, that is really impressive. Especially the hot side operations from casting to hot rolling. Cold rolling and finishing operations are nice, but not nearly as impressive raw energy in the form of the heat. Standing 200 ft or more away and the radiant heating is like standing right in front of your oven door with it open.
+1 - During my career I was lucky enough to tour a variety of manufacturing plants, with the steel mills being the most impressive.
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Old 08-10-2016, 11:12 AM   #25
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The Yuengling Brewery, Pottsville PA. America's oldest! Family owned and free samples too.;-))
The Straub Brewery tour in St Marys, PA is also good. They take you by the "endless tap" several times during the tour. Did a couple of Strohs beer tours back in the day.

Other notable tours were the US Steel plant and the Wonder Bread plant. Free samples are very important.

You get some interesting tours when you belong to technical / industry organizations. Job interviews can yield some interesting tours. Getting a look at the B1 bomber insides back in the day was a real hoot for me.
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Old 08-10-2016, 11:26 AM   #26
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Thanks for starting this thread.

I can recommend the Boeing plant tour in Everett WA. I believe the tour bus still takes you to the flight line, and then to the facility. I took the "tour" during the strike a few years ago, but I was part of a vendor visit and we happened to know the VP of 787 interiors. So we got a "VIP" tour of the entire manufacturing facility, and it was pretty empty due to the shutdown. Crawled around 787 airplane #2 (which I believe is now at the museum in Tucson) and looked at the avionics we were supplying.

The enormity of the facility is something everyone should see. Tiny lights in the distance were a pickup trucks headlamps. The scale of the fixtures used to hold aircraft sub-assemblies is incredible.

I think the actual tour only takes you to an observation level inside the facility (for safety reasons) but it would be well worth the visit. And, the Boeing store at the museum has lots of really cool models and aviation stuff.

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Old 08-10-2016, 11:40 AM   #27
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Federal Express in Memphis (airport facility) at night when they are sorting packages and loading planes. It's the busiest airport in the world at night. Incredible coordination and automation...
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:44 PM   #28
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As a metallurgical engr, I encourage if you can get a tour of a steel mill, that is really impressive. Especially the hot side operations from casting to hot rolling.
I never did a tour, but one time I drove by a steal mill right when a big vat of molten metal was being poured. I stopped my car and watched. Very cool (but extremely hot ).
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Old 08-10-2016, 09:46 PM   #29
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As a metallurgical engr, I encourage if you can get a tour of a steel mill, that is really impressive. Especially the hot side operations from casting to hot rolling. Cold rolling and finishing operations are nice, but not nearly as impressive raw energy in the form of the heat. Standing 200 ft or more away and the radiant heating is like standing right in front of your oven door with it open.

A real nice tour is the Maker's Mark distillery in KY. Other bourbon distilleries also have tours, but MM is nice because it is more traditional and less automation.
Actually you can get some good views on Youtube for example hearing an electric arc furnace generate thunder as the iron melts. Also a number of programs on on there on various topics.
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Old 08-11-2016, 10:51 AM   #30
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I spent most of my career touring Factories in many industries, So I never really want to see another one. Maybe a tour of a workplace I have never been part of such as a Hospital or Trading Floor would be interesting for me.
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Old 08-11-2016, 11:09 AM   #31
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I took a tour of the Toyota Nummi plant in Fremont, CA about a couple of years before it closed. Fascinating car plant tour.

An then there are all the wineries in the CA wine country.

It is not generally open to the public but I took a tour of Tyson chicken factory in Texas once. Best tour ever.
I would highly recommend the Tesla factory, which used to be the Nummi plant.
I wish I had toured it when it was the Nummi plant, it would be interesting to see it both before and after.

I haven't been their yet, but the Tesla Gigafactory would be cool to see.
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Old 08-11-2016, 11:28 AM   #32
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I got the opportunity to tour the US Mint in Denver years ago as a vendor. So I wasn't in the glass catwalks, I was right down on the floor with all the noise and glitter. It was awesome.
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Old 08-13-2016, 12:21 PM   #33
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Back when I taught a college level safety and health class, we always toured a couple of foundries and a steel mill. Every time, some really interesting "event" occurred.

One time, our professor's shirt caught on fire briefly because hot metal splashed on him.

One time, while touring the coking area of a steel mill, we traveled between mountains of coke. On the opposite side of the piles from the line-of-site of the plant, there were remains of hundreds of whisky bottles mixed in with the coke. Apparently, some workers ate (er, drank) their lunches between the coke piles and then returned to work.

Visiting a rolled-steel line, we watched as a 47 ton roll of steel missed the sprocket and all 47 tons ended up in a massive pile at the end of the line. The noise was the loudest thing I had ever heard. I tried to scream and could not hear myself scream.
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Old 08-13-2016, 02:49 PM   #34
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Having manufactured all sorts of steel parts (from auto parts to appliance chassis to beer cans), boxes and packing materials, plastic bottles, creamed corn, tomato juice, garden tool handles, and semiconductors, plus stints w*rking at an egg farm, a printer, a gas station, a pizza restaurant, UPS, a grocery store, and a tavern, I'm not that motivated to tour a factory. I have, however, watched many episodes of "How It's Made"...
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Old 08-13-2016, 06:10 PM   #35
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........ I'm not that motivated to tour a factory........
I'm with you on that. Having worked in one after high school and having spent way too much time in them doing new vehicle launches, I came to detest them. Most of the ones I knew were dirty and dangerous with a mind numbing culture that I'd compare to a prison where the inmates get to go home at night.
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Old 08-13-2016, 07:06 PM   #36
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Growing up my Mum used to arrange holiday vacations near pottery company factories for tours: Denby, Portmerion (Wales/UK etc.).

Fast forward to about 10 years ago, my husband asked me to watch the old 60s series "The Prisoner" . I was like...um I think I've been there or maybe it was a dream? Look up Portmerion if you're not familiar and you'll see what I mean.
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Old 08-14-2016, 09:06 PM   #37
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I toured a pickle maker facility when I was about 12. Scary smelly place with huge wooden vats with foam pouring over sides. It's a wonder I ever ate another pickle.
I also went to an aluminum factory with a college class. Again amazing things danger in every step you take. Forget brain surgery-lives were on the line all the time.
I've never done a days work in my life.
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Old 08-15-2016, 06:10 AM   #38
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Shiner Brewery in Shiner, TX. Came away from that tour significantly buzzed.
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Old 08-24-2016, 06:44 PM   #39
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Toured SpaceX in California a couple of years ago. Very cool to see space ships being built. Not sure if it's open for public tours--my DD knew an engineer there.

Theo's Chocolate factory in Seattle was fun, although it isn't free. You do get several samples and a chocolate bar.
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Old 08-24-2016, 06:50 PM   #40
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Anyone interested in tours might want to browse this site:

Factory Tours USA

Looked at Texas and they do not have Blue Bell Ice Cream... not the greatest tour ever, but if you are driving by it is interesting...


The one that I can remember, but I think they have closed it down, was the Boeing plant... at the time the largest building (by volume) in the world IIRC...
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