What Are the Planet’s Biggest Factories and Assembly Sites?
Giant factories have sprung up all over the planet in the last few centuries, but what are the biggest of them? Opinions differ, due to the different ways of measuring them, but the following are undoubtedly some of the most impressive candidates.
Boeing Everett Factory, Washington, USA
This is classed as being the planet’s biggest building in terms of volume, at 13,385,378 m3 (472,370,319 cu feet). It has to be so big because the company assembles its aeroplanes in here.
This building was constructed in the 1960s and they have been offering tours of the place ever since then. In fact, some 150,000 visitors are said to come here every year to take a look around the cavernous interior. It is almost like a small city, as 30,000 people work here and it has facilities like a fitness centre, coffee shop and fire department.
NASA Vehicle Assembly Building, Florida, USA
Specially designed for assembling space vehicles, this is classed as being the biggest single-storey building on Earth, as well as being the USA’s tallest non-urban construction. It was built in 1966 and has an inner space of 3,665,000 m3 (129,428,000 cubic feet).
It was built to withstand the hurricanes and tropical storms that can wreak havoc on the Florida coast, but it still suffered major damage when strong winds blew off panels on several occasions. One of the most noteworthy features of this huge building is the fact that it has the world’s largest doors, at 139.0 m (456 feet) tall each.
Jean-Luc Lagardere, Toulouse-Blagnac, France
This factory in south-western France is where the Airbus A330 is put together. It runs across 122,500 m² (494 acres) and contains staff restaurants as well as an energy production plant. There are also runways outside for testing purposes.
Inside, it has a long hall of 250 metres long, 115 metres wide and 46 metres high, as well as several smaller halls. It has been reported that 50,000 tons of steel were used in the construction of this giant building.
Austal, Alabama, USA
The mammoth size of this facility in Blakeley is due to the fact that it is a place where giant ships are built, both for commercial purposes and for the US navy’s fleet.
It is estimated that the assembly yard takes up some 53,000m² of space. Naturally, giant plant platform units and other large pieces of equipment are needed due to the scale of the area where work is carried out.
Meyer Werft Dockhalle, Papenburg, Germany
Another shipbuilding facility, this one measures in at around 63,000 m2. People have been building ships here since the 18th century but this luxury cruise ship assembly centre is the last one remaining. Thousands of people line the river to see each new vessel that is launched from here.
This facility is classed as being the fifth-biggest usable space in the world today. The other German entry on this list is Aerium in Brandenburg, which was designed as an aircraft hangar but now houses an enormous tropical theme park.