[VIDEO] How LEGO is made
As LEGO takes the title for World’s Most Powerful Brand, Manufacturing Global goes behind the scenes and unveils how the little blocks of creative joy are made.
How LEGO is made:
- It all starts with tiny plastic granules. Trucks filled with granules drive up to the LEGO factory where giant hoses suck up the granules and then dump them into three-storey high metal silos (storage towers). There are 14 silos and each one can hold up to 33 tonnes of granules.
- From the silos, the plastic granules are fed down pipes to the moulding machines.
- Inside the moulding machines, the granules are superheated to a temperature of about 230°C (450 degrees Fahrenheit). This melted plastic goo is fed into moulds, little metal containers shaped like hollow LEGO bricks. Think of these as very complicated versions of the ice cube trays you keep in your own freezer.
- The moulding machine applies hundreds of tons of pressure to make sure the bricks are shaped with perfect accuracy. Then they are cooled and ejected, which only takes about 10 seconds.
- Because of the dangerous conditions and high precision required, the moulding process is almost completely automated.
- Finished pieces roll down conveyor belts into boxes. When a box is full, the moulding machine sends a radio signal to one of the robot trucks that patrol the hall. The robot trucks are guided by grooves in the factory floor. They pick up full boxes and place them onto another conveyor belt that takes them onto the next step of the manufacturing process.
- The next stop in the manufacturing process is the assembly halls where details are printed on and multi-part pieces are put together. Faces, control panels, numbers, words and other decorative details are stamped onto bricks by a giant printer.
- Some LEGO pieces like minifigure legs are made from several pieces that fit together. These complex pieces are snapped together by machines that apply pressure with great precision.
- The final step is putting all the right pieces together to make complete LEGO sets. Sets can have hundreds of different pieces, so the packaging process has to be fast and accurate.
- Boxes called cassettes roll on conveyor belts underneath the storage bins that hold each type of piece. The bins open and close to release the right number of pieces into each cassette.
- Finally, packing operators fold the boxes, add the building instructions and additional pieces and watch out for any machine-made mistakes.
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