On Thursday, October 6th juniors and seniors from Brownstown and seventeen other school districts met at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Effingham for Manufacturing Day. The students had the choice to tour ten different factories. Options included Nova, Hodgson Mill, Mechanovent, Stevens, John Boos, Versatech, Quad Graphics, Waupaca, Kingery, and Sherwin Williams.
A few Brownstown students went to Hodgson Mill and Stevens Industries. Hodgson Mill produces food items such as pasta, cake, and brownie mixes. They also manufacture a lot of gluten free products and sell them at their stores. To show students the finished product they sent home boxes of macaroni and cheese with each student. We had a great time watching their manufacturing process from start to finish. Then we visited Stevens Industry, a warehouse that ships out wood planks, wooden desks, and cabinets. Students toured the factory and saw how they made cabinets. Some workers placed hinges, sent .items down the line, and sanded down parts. At the end of the tour, students answered questions that were discussed throughout the tour. Whoever answered a question right received a ball in a box that was made with Stevens new 3D printer.
Waupaca and Mechanovent were two other factories we had the opportunity to tour. Waupaca is a branch of the Japanese company Hitachi and the largest iron foundry in the world. Waupaca casts car parts at multiple countries then machine them at their factory in Effingham. Waupaca has many fanuc robots and conveyors moving parts down the line and most of their work is fully automated. After Waupaca the students toured Mechanovent. Mechanovent is a factory that makes fans and all the work is hand made. They only have one robot which is programmed to do a task, in this case the robot welds. Mechanovent also assembles and tests all products before they are shipped out and sold.
Brownstown also went as a group to Quad Graphics. This is a printing company that prints everything from magazines, coupons, and newspapers, to advertising slips, and mail. The company’s headquarters are in Sussex, Wisconsin, and was founded in 1971. This is a great business with many opportunities and job offers. The tour took students through the printing press, and to a machine that shook the papers that were shipped out in neat stacks. Students enjoyed seeing all the amazing work that can be produced by only four colors: red, blue yellow, and white, that create a variety of colors and is part of their company logo.
Manufacturing Day was a new experience and a great opportunity for students to see what career they would prefer. Brownstown students had a great time and encourage others to go on Manufacturing Day next year. We thank all the factories and employees for taking time out of their schedule to let us tour their facilities.
By: Brooke Mayfield, Caitlyn Mason, and Sami Long
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