Well-run factories are imperative to the success of any consumer goods companies, and even to the well-being of whole economies. Companies can corner whole markets by recognizing a viable product and acquiring or constructing a factory to focus on specialised, mass production.
While a factory is a huge investment with equally huge maintenance costs, these locations are used to manufacture and sell in bulk, cutting overall production costs to a minimum. Not only do these companies cut back on costs, but their factories also allow for reasonably cheap labor and create employment, especially when constructed or acquired near towns.
Walmart, the most notorious - and largest - discount store in the United States, has numerous massive-scale distribution centers to cater to its 11,088 locations. Its rival, Target, has four import distribution centers to cater to its import needs. Hyundai and Volkswagen have the largest automobile plants in the world, as a way to give themselves the competitive edge in expanding and increasing their production output.
Typically, those institutions and companies with the largest factories also are similarly some of the largest and most influential names in the world. The following are the 15 largest factories in the world, and the names behind them.
15 NASA Vehicle Assembly Building
Located between Miami and Jacksonville, the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building is the largest single-story building in the world.
14 Meyer Werft Dockhalle 2
Meyer Werft is one of the largest shipyard companies located in Germany.
Aerium is a redeveloped factory initially intended to be an airship hangar. The Nazis built this humongous establishment in the early years of World War II to develop their military base.
They occupied the site until 1945, when the Red Army seized it. The Soviet Army then increased the runway from 1,000m to 2,500m. This made the building an effective place to house fighter planes. In 1994, following the reunification of East Germany, the Soviet Army returned the base to the Government of Germany. 2 years later, a company named CargoLifter acquired the building to build airships.
12 Constellation Bristol
Constellation Bristol is a wine connoisseur’s dream come true, as one of the largest beer and wine warehouses in the world. Measuring a whooping 850,000 sq ft, Constellation Bristol can carry a jaw-dropping 9.5 million gallons of alcohol. That’s approximately 14 Olympic-sized pools.
11 Tesco Ireland Distribution Centre
This distribution center is the largest building in Ireland. Opened in 2007, this dry grocery and electrical goods distribution center measures 80,194 m². The building is huge; it is close to half a mile in length, which will take the average person some 12 minutes to walk end to end.
10 Lauma Fabrics
Lauma Fabrics specializes in the production of lace and raw materials for lingerie. It also manufactures elastic ribbons and fabric. Being one of the largest companies in this industry, Lauma possesses the largest fabric factory in the world.
9 Jean-Luc Lagardère Plant
The Jean-Luc Lagardère Plant is mainly used as a final assembly line in the production of the 800-seater, $428 million Airbus A380. Located in Toulouse-Blagnac, the 470m long assembly line has a footprint of 122,500 m².
8 Target Import Warehouse
Target is the second largest United States discount retailer, and for that, it needs a humongous warehouse. Of its warehouses, Targets Import Warehouse is by far the largest, having a total floor area of 185,800 m².
7 Belvidere Assembly Plant
Located in Illinois, United States, Belvidere Assembly Plant is a Chrysler factory that assembles car brands such as the Jeep Compass, the Jeep Patriot and the Dodge Dart. The plant has also assembled past models such as Dodge Caliber, Chrysler Imperial, Dodge Dynasty, Chrysler New Yorker and the Plymouth Neon.
6 Mitsubishi Motors North America
Founded in 1981, Mitsubishi Motors North America oversees the manufacturing, production, sales, research and development of the Mitsubishi car brand across the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada through a well-developed network of over 700 car dealers.
5 Boeing Factory in Everett
Everett, Washington is home to the largest Boeing facility in the world. The Boeing Everett Factory has a mind-blowing floor area of 398,000 m². It covers 98.3 acres of land, and it is the location where the Boeing 747, 767, and 777 are made. The assembly of the newly launched 787 Dreamliner also takes place here.
4 Tesla Factory
Elon Musk’s Tesla Company has been all the rage of late. Tesla Motors focuses solely on the production of electric cars and electric powertrain components. Situated in Fremont, California, this expansive automobile car production facility has a footprint of 510,000 m².
3 Aalsmeer Flower Auction Building
Technically not a mainstream factory, Aalsmeer Flower Auction building is the largest building in the world in terms of its real estate space: It covers a gigantic 518,000 m² and is home to the largest flower auction worldwide. The building is 740m long and 700m wide.
2 Hyundai Motor Company's Ulsan Factory
The Hyundai Motor Company's Ulsan manufacturing facility occupies a total space of 5,050,000 m². This South Korean plant is spread over 1,225 acres of land. It has five distinct production plants and is able to produce a car every 12 seconds. That's equivalent to an impressive 1.53 million units annually.
1 Volkswagen Wolfsburg Plant
Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg plant has produced over 40 million cars over the years. It is the largest auto plant in the world, covering a whooping 6,500,000 m². This imposing factory is so huge that floor workers are allowed to use bicycles to make their way around. What’s more fascinating about this factory is that the employees can be working on more than five different cars at a time without compromising on efficiency or quality.
The factory also possesses the largest state of the art European paint shop. It's the first paint shop to use eco-friendly water-based paint.
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