Tech Chronicles

Category: Tech Chronicles

Tech Chronicles: What factories looked like before OSHA

1904 factory footage

Someone call OSHA, because we have a lot of visible violations in this video clip smuggled out from a factory, which looks like it’s manufacturing components for electrical power plants. No one is wearing helmets, fire suppression systems are not visible, and … Oh, never mind, it’s from 1904.

This clip was taken decades before the United States (and most other industrialized nations of the era) had modernized their industrial safety laws. The toll on workers was severe — just prior to the creation of OSHA in the early 1970s, an estimated 14,000 workers were killed on the job in the United States. By 2009, the number of deaths had dropped to 4,340 even while the number of workers has doubled.

The other thing that stood out about this clip are the number of people wearing semi-formal attire, including jackets, ties, white button-down shirts, bowlers, and leather shoes. It was clearly a different time.

 

Tech Chronicles: When rolled steel gets jammed

When the paper jam is in an industrial steel roller, you’ve got problems. This video, shot at a Canadian plant, shows the red-hot rolled steel bunching up after a mishap. The line shuts down quickly, but there’s a big mass of metal to clean up and recycle. Watch the video here.

rolled steel factory jam youtube

PPR Tech Chronicles are snapshots of industrial technology, from legacy hardware to cutting-edge tech. If you have a cool or interesting example to share, email editor@prioritypayload.com with your name and title, a short description of what it is and why it’s so cool, and a photo or screenshot that PPR can include in the newsletter.

Tech Chronicles: Panasonic Toughbook Factory

Panasonic Toughbook

There’s a great gallery over on IT Pro that shows some still photos from the Panasonic Toughbook production line. These ruggedized laptops are designed for extreme conditions and more than the usual amount of banging around and accidental drops. What surprised PPR was the fact that Panasonic still makes these in Japan, not a lower-cost country like Vietnam. And, while there are some industrial robots on the line, certain processes are still handled by humans. See the feature here: Making a toughbook.

PPR Tech Chronicles are snapshots of industrial technology, from legacy hardware to cutting-edge tech. If you have a cool or interesting example to share, email editor@prioritypayload.com with your name and title, a short description of what it is and why it’s so cool, and a photo or screenshot that PPR can include in the newsletter.

Tech Chronicles: Robots take on a dirty job in biogenetics

Biogenetics robot cleaning cagesThere is an interesting video and 3D tour of the MRC Harwell animal research facility, near Oxford, England. This company conducts genetic research using nearly 50,000 mice to track and test genetic variants. The facility has partially automated one of the dirtiest jobs–cleaning mice cages.

Workers load used cages into the cleaning system. A caged robot empties the used cages of litter and puts them in a washing machine. Then the cages are loaded into an industrial-grade autoclave, which uses high-pressure steam for sterilization.

Other videos show safety procedures around cryogenic storage, the air shower used by staff before entering the clean areas of the lab, and the experimental wards where tens of thousands of mice are tested and monitored.

PPR Tech Chronicles are snapshots of industrial technology, from legacy hardware to cutting-edge tech. If you have a cool or interesting example to share, email editor@prioritypayload.com with your name and title, a short description of what it is and why it’s so cool, and a photo or screenshot that PPR can include in the newsletter.