I have taken two in depth tours at two of our suppliers/manufacturers locations. It was like watching Mr. Rogers taking a tour of factory, only this was real life. (My fave Mr. Rogers sode was the one where they manufacture crayons O_O). My first tour was at Custom Color which I took some pictures at (see below). We get most of our large scale banners and signage printed at Custom Color, they have printers that can print banners the size of skyscrapers on any material you could imagine. Some of the printers are so large that if you hollowed them out I could live inside of it comfortably. They have two rare and highly technilogical printers that print on fabric using colored gas, there are only six of these printers in the world. The second location I toured was at Magna-Plus which started out as a magnet printing business but has expanded to so many other items and materials (such as product labels, keychain barcode cards, etc.) Between these two companies I could print on, emboss, engrave, die-cut, on pretty much any material and in mass quantities.
I think the thing that surprised me the most after the two tours was how much work had to be done by hand. Much of the machines were multifunctional and digital which has replaced most of the labor, though there are some jobs that still require human touch. I met people who sew by hand thousands and thousands of fabric banners with a rubber piping and place them in frames. I met people who adhere thousands and thousands of magnets and break them from the excess magnet scraps. Its mind-boggling to think of just how much work goes into every single product we own. Designers, manufacturers, suppliers, engineers, transporters, the list continues.
These pictures were taken with my cell phone so pardon the quality.
|This is one of the fabric printers that print using colored gas. They were in the process of printing Steve Madden advertisements.|