The steel factory tour is vying to be the highlight of my past few weeks. The race is very close. When my professor told us that we could tour one of the largest steel company’s factory 30 minutes away, Nucor factory, I almost blurted out “would we get extra credit?”. I barely held it in. After the initial ulterior points motive, I was actually interested in going since I’ve learned that it’s usually a good idea to say yes to opportunities; they rarely turn out badly. So I rearranged my plans and barely made it by the meeting time to drive down with the group.
When we walked in, we received a helmet, safety goggles and fire retardant jacket which weren’t flattering but definitely official! The factory is big. The machinery is just massive. Until you get to quality controls and actually molding the steel, the processes that melt and transport steel is straight out of a post-apocalyptic world and technology fairly basic. This mean that huge machine parts move slowly but do good bit of damage. First image is the huge cauldrons waiting for the melted steel, there is a flame above them to always keep them hot. The huge trucks roll in, filled with scrap metal to dump in a container, since Nucor is the largest recycling steel company in the US. We waited 30 minutes to see the steel being poured and transported and I decided that I would ask as many questions as I needed to basically open up my own factory. Close enough. The tour took almost two hours and we went through the whole process, including the statistic side which was the main goal of us being there; to see how statistics was used to control performance. It was very cool and class seemed more relevant but the lava-like steel being transformed to sheets of steel is definitely the highlight.