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Boeing Everett Factory – Seattle, Washington

The Boeing Everett factory is large enough to house Disneyland with 12 acres left over for parking. In fact, it houses the largest building in the world by volume, at 472,370,319 cubic feet. Why all the space? The answer is simple: The Boeing 747, which changed the face of global travel and made aviation history as one of the greatest technological achievements of the 20th century.

Back in 1966, Pan American World Airways awarded Boeing $525 million to build 25 747s. And by 1968, as the Everett facility was literally being built around them, a team dubbed “The Incredibles” assembled the first model in just 16 months. The factory has since produced roughly 3,600 wide-body jets with millions of parts and miles of wiring that synchronize like a symphony for customers all over the world.

The 747 is an impressive 225 feet long with a tail as tall as a six-story building and a wingspan that could accommodate 45 cars.

Today, with more than 30,000 employees, Boeing Everett has its own fire department, security team, daycare, and fitness center. Not to mention the Boeing Employees’ Credit Union Branch, the Boeing Store, a Theater, a Future of Flight Aviation Center (visited by over 150,000 people each year), and several cafés! More than 40 years later, Everett employees are making history again as they manufacture the company’s newest twin-aisle airplanes, the 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8.

 

Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg PlantWolfsburg, Germany

In this pre-WWII building one hour outside of Berlin, the Volkswagen Wolfsburg plant is the largest of its kind, spanning 3 square miles with 160-foot-high ceilings. So large in fact, that employees are encouraged to use bikes to get around the press shop, body shop, paint shop, and assembly line. Wolfsburg produces about 3,800 vehicles daily (and about 40 million in its history) using about 1,500 metric tons of sheet metal to produce the Golf, Golf Plus, Tiguan, Touran models.

 

More than 50,000 people work in Wolfsburg, and around half work directly in vehicle production. Over 10,000 employees develop next-generation vehicles while others focus on ensuring production runs smoothly. Every working day, more than 900 trucks deliver goods that have to be controlled, stored and distributed. And around ten million individual parts are brought to the assembly lines. The Wolfsburg plant is also home to Europe’s largest private loading station, where every year, train drivers shunt 150,000 rail cars with incoming or outgoing goods.

 

Lauma Fabrics  Liepaja, Latvia

Lingerie might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Latvia, but the truth is that Lauma is one of the largest fabrics manufacturers in Europe.

Unemployment was the highest it had ever been in Liepaja, Latvia back in the year 1961. And when the idea of creating a lingerie factory in the city was buzzing in the air, the community answered with an amazing echo at the promise of jobs and stability in an uncertain time. By 1965 construction of the new factory began being developed by a group of experts from five scientific institutes in St. Petersburg, Riga, Kiev, Ivanovo and Vilnius.

The Lauma factory produces lace, elastic knitted fabric, ribbons, and more recently, medical bands and bandages across 5 workshops — lace knitting, ribbon weaving, silk weaving, dyeing and finishing, as well as a sewing shop. This massive 67-acre factory can fulfill the visions of lingerie producers in hundreds of different tones, textures, and structures, exporting products to Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Estonia. Lauma also has an amazing new thermal process called molding that can now bring manufacturers’ designs to life in one place, with the assistance of one raw material supplier, without the need to travel halfway around the world.

 

Honorable Mentions:

NASA Vehicle Assembly Building – Kennedy Space Center in Titusville Florida

This building is used to assemble large-scale space vehicles like the Saturn V rocket, Discovery and Endeavor space shuttle, and the future Space Launching System. It is also the tallest single story building in the world, completed in 1966.

Hyundai Ulsan Factory – South Korea

The Ulsan Factory is Hyundai’s main production facility, comprised of five independent facilities across 5,000,000 square meters. Ulsan produces around 5,600 vehicles daily and employs 34,000 workers including a fire station, hospital, and patrol cars all within the grounds. The plant is also nestled among 580,000 trees and equipped with state-of-the-art facilities to preserve the environment, including a waste wastewater plant.

Tesla Gigafactory – Sparks, Nevada

The Gigafactory is being built in phases so that Tesla can begin manufacturing immediately inside the finished sections and continue to expand from there.The current structure is roughly 1.9 million square feet, housing more than 4.9 million square feet of operational space across several floors. Once complete, Tesla expects the Gigafactory to be the largest building in the world – and entirely powered by renewable energy sources, with the goal of achieving net zero energy.

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