Have you ever heard the idiom “seeing is believing?” As technology advances and products become more complex, the minds of consumers are continually boggled by the inner workings of whatever new items are being manufactured at the time.
Tablets, laptops, cameras, machines, cars and more defy what we rationally expect from their appearance. That slim little tablet holds all that memory and power? How can that be? How is that assembled?
Part of the thrill of manufacturing is seeing and understanding the science behind a product, whether it be a standard toaster or a light rail train car. That’s why the manufacturing field is a good fit for students curious about how the world works, and for students willing to ask the questions to find out how things happen. Essentially, manufacturing means taking an active stance in the world around us.
Whether you’ve decided to dedicate your life to STEM fields or are simply interested in learning more about how common products work, Nebraska is actually a fantastic place to do so. We recommend spending your day at one of Nebraska’s many factory tours, one of the best ways to see the inner workings of a product.
Most tours require a phone call or reservation, so make sure to do so before heading over to your factory of choice. Here are a few of our favorite factory tours in Nebraska:
- Hornady Manufacturing: Located in Grand Island, Nebraska, this factory offers free tours Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. The tour will walk you through the process of creating Hornady’s award-winning bullets, ammunition, and reloading products, from concept to packaging. Make sure to call, email, or visit their website to inquire about tour group availability space.
- Kawasaki Motors: Go behind the scenes to find out more about the production of jetskis, ATV’s, rail cars, and more at the Lincoln, Nebraska factory. Tours are available on Thursdays at 8:00 a.m., and last approximately one hour. Children must be at least 12 years of age to tour the facility. Reserve your spot online with the Human Resources Department.
- Case IH: This plant, also located in Grand Island, manufactures Case IH Axial-Flow combines and several other types of hay and forage equipment, making this tour perfect for the agriculturally-inclined student. Tours are scheduled twice daily Monday through Friday. To schedule your tour, call Charlene at 308.389.5758.
When we were ramping up for MFG Day 2013 back in October, one of the ways we recommended getting to know manufacturing was through factory tours. But as you can see here, you don’t have to wait until next October to do a tour and see what manufacturing is all about–you can do it any time throughout the year!
Many of the great manufacturers here in the state offer factory tours, and we absolutely recommend getting out and taking a tour or two when you have the time. You never know what you might learn about manufacturing, and factory tours are just plain cool!
Photo credit: Barret Stinson via The Independent