7 of the World’s Largest Manufacturing Plants
Thousands of employees working in multiple shifts and handling expensive machinery is what makes the world economy tick. And usually the larger the manufacturing plant, the larger the efficiency. We look at over seven of the world’s largest manufacturing plants, creating things like planes, cars, batteries, and lingerie—all small little cities of industry.
Volkswagen Wolfsburg Plant, Germany
The largest car-making manufacturing plant in the world—70 million square feet large—resides in Wolsburg, Germany, pounding out 3,800 Volkswagen vehicles per day. That comes out to about 815,000 vehicles a year, at least in 2015. The factory halls alone take up a surface area of nearly 1 square mile, enough to accommodate the Principality of Monaco. Churning out four Golf lines, the Touran, and Tiguan, the Volkwagen plant—which first started manufacturing vehicles in 1945—handles everything from toolmaking to plastic production to housing one of the world’s largest paint shops.
Hyundai Motor Company Ulsan Factory, South Korea
From the 14 different Hyundai models manufactured in the five-building, 54 million square foot Ulsan Factory in South Korea to the engine and transmission production, this plant can churn out a vehicle every 12 seconds. Opened originally in 1968 and expanded ever since, 34,000 employees work on site—some even sleeping in the onsite dormitory. The facility also has its own sewage treatment plant and cargo ship pier.
Tesla Gigafactory, Nevada
While Tesla already boasts a 5.5 million square foot production facility in Fremont, California, for vehicle production, a brand-new Gigafactory outside of Sparks, Nevada, began battery cell production on January 4, 2017. By 2018, the factory will reach a size of 13 million square feet. In cooperation with Panasonic, the Gigafactory plans to achieve net zero energy as it continues to automize the battery-making process.
Boeing Factory, Washington
When you build airplanes, you need space. The world’s largest building by volume, the 4.2 million square foot Boeing manufacturing facility north of Seattle in Everett, Washington, covers nearly 100 acres and rolls out the 747, 767, 777 and 787. Along with a museum, theater, 19 restaurants and store, the 1966-built facility includes 2.33 miles of pedestrian tunnels underneath the factory floor, its own railway spur, over 1,000 bicycles for getting around the plant and even the world’s largest mural.
Belvidere Assembly Plant, Illinois
Mitsubishi Motors North America once had the second-largest manufacturing facility in Illinois—and one of the largest in the world—at 2.3 million square feet, but it ended production in 2015, shuttering the Normal, Illinois, plant and transferring the entire Illinois car production fame to the Belvidere Assembly Plant owned by Chrysler. Constructed in 1965, this 3.5 million square foot facility handles assembly of the Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot and Dodge Dart with about 780 robots and over 280 acres of property.
Jean-Luc Legardére Plant, France
Located in Toulouse-Blagnac, France, the Jean-Luc Legardére Plant puts the pieces together for the Airbus A380. With the plane’s parts crafted across Europe, the French facility handles assembly and testing of the final build in the 1.3 million square foot facility that also includes 49 acres of runway outside the plant.
Lauma Fabrics, Latvia
At 1.2 million square feet, this Latvia-based plant may offer the largest size manufacturing plant per size of product being produced within because Lauma Fabrics makes lace, ribbons, and fabric for lingerie. With construction starting in 1965, the building’s width of 1,600 feet nearly doubles the length of 738 feet for the manufacturing floor.
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