Upon taking the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour (www.futureofflight.org), I became privy to some interesting facts about Boeing’s Everett factory and the largest building in the world (okay, they gave me a CD-ROM). I highly recommend taking the tour when you’re next in the Seattle area; a teaser of what awaits those who visit follows.
Boeing’s Everett facility is not new to the spotlight; in fact, it has been the subject of many a news story, largely due to strikes and what have been described as strained relations between workers and management. Some believe strained relations is one of several myths associated with this location. Ten myths related to Boeing’s Everett facility follow:
Largest Building on Earth? True.
Guinness World Records lists the Boeing Everett factory as the largest building in the world by volume at 472,000000 cubic feet (13.3 million cubic meters).
Boeing Factory employs 100,000 people at this facility? False.
There are approximately 30,000 people employed at the Everett facility. They work in three shifts 24-hours a day.
The city of Boeingsville? True.
The Everett factory is very similar to a small city, having its own 19 restaurants (which serve around 17,000 meals per day), day care center, office buildings, fire department, security force, medical clinic, electrical substations, and water treatment plant.
They have the largest mural in the world? True.
According to the Guinness World Records, the murals on the six factory doors are the largest digital graphics in the world.
There is no air conditioning? True.
Due to Seattle’s mild climate (translated: it rains all the time), the production floor does not have any form of air conditioning. They control the temperature by two means: the weather outside and the facilities illuminations devices a.k.a. lights. If the facility gets too warm, open says-a-me the factory doors open and fans are engaged to direct air into the monolithic structure. If the building gets too frigid, they rely on the lights above the production floor. The Boeing Everett factory uses over 1,000,000 light bulbs to illuminate 472,000,000 cubic feet of space!
Conventional cranes are used to move planes and components during assembly? False.
There are 26 overhead cranes that run on 39-miles of ceiling tracks. These ceiling cranes are used to lift and move airplane components and sections during the manufacturing process.
The Boeing factory is so big it that is rains in the factory? True.
This factory is so massive that when the factory was first built, clouds, the product of accumulated warm air and moisture, actually formed near the ceiling. However, the “weather” cleared when a state-of-the-art air circulation system was installed.
Is there a labyrinth of tunnels running below the factory True.
There are 2.33 miles or 3.7 kilometers of pedestrian tunnels running below the facility. The tunnels are also utilized for running buildings utilities. On my tour the guide had indicated that once we were half way down one of these halls that we had just traveled the length of the Titanic.
There are 1,000 bicycles in the facility to help employees get around? False.
There are 1,300 bicycles and tricycles (big boy tricycles) that are used by employees to around the factory.
They have their own choo-choo? True.
Boeing not only has train tracks running to the factory but the rail spur running uphill to the factory from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) track is the steepest active standard railroad in the United States.