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The biggest factories in the world

08/12/2017
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If you’re looking to assemble or manufacture at scale, then you’ll need a factory to match.

As manufacturers across the globe seek to take advantage of economies of scale, utilise automisation and robotics and lower the per unit cost of their goods they are scaling up their manufacturing facilities to unprecedented sizes.

Here we take a look at the biggest factories producing engineered products, from cars and planes to cruise ships and space craft! 
As we’re primarily concerned with engineering-focused factories we’ve excluded those giant factories that produce goods such as fabrics or those that act solely as distribution centres.
The world's biggest factories manufacturing assembly engineering
NASA Vehicle Assembly Building

Built in 1966 to facilitate the assembly of NASA’s Saturn V rocket for the Apollo space program, the Vehicle Assembly Building measures 32,374m2 covers over 8 acres of land.

Besides being the largest single-storey building in the world it is also packed with novel features such as 4 staggering 456-foot tall doors, 71 cranes and utilised over 98,000 tons of steel in its construction.
The NASA Vehicle Assembly Building
Meyer Werft Dockhalle 2

From small beginnings, Meyer Werft is now one of the biggest family-owned ship building firms in the world. To match this reputation, Meyer Werft has one of the largest factories in the world in the shape of its Dockhalle 2.

Located in Papenburg, Germany, Dockhalle 2 has an impressive floor area of 63,000m2, which is predominantly used to construct cruise ships. The roofed dry dock has a length of 504m, a width of 125m, and height of 75m. Examples of ships built in this yard include Norwegian Star, Norwegian Dawn, Radiance of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, AIDAbella and Norwegian Jewel.
Meyer Werft Dockhalle 2
Brand-Briesen Aerium

Originally developed by National Socialist Germany during the opening stages of the second world world, the Brand-Briesen Aerium was seized by the Soviets at the end of the war and become a storage facility for fighter planes.

Since the reunification of Gernmany the Aerium has experienced mixed fortunes, at one point being a manufacturing facility for airships (until the company, CargoLifter, went bankrupt) until it was acquired by a Malaysian company which has used the building as a tropical theme park ever since.
Brand-Briesen Aerium
Jean-Luc Lagardere Plant

If you’re going to build the world’s largest passenger airliner, you’re going to need a factory to match.

The Jean-Luc Lagardere Plant is it.

Home to the construction and assembly of the Airbus A380 airliner, the plant covers a gigantic 1,300,000m2 including 49 acres of runways. Located in Toulouse-Blagnac, the plant also features a 470m long assembly line and used over 500,000 tonnes of steel in its construction.
Jean-Luc Lagardere Plant
Mitsubishi Motors North America

Since 1981, the Mitsubishi Motors North America factory has overseen the manufacturing, production, sales, research and development of Mitsubishi vehicles across the US, Mexico, the Caribbean and Canada.

Demand has kept the 1,280-staff busy at the 22,000m2 plant since then. Particularly as the factory has taken on the production of cars for other brands such as Chrysler.
Mitsubishi Motors North America Factory
Boeing Everett Factory

Next up in our list is another US-based factory; the Boeing Everett Factory located in Washington.

The Boeing Everett Factory has a frankly mind-blowing floor-area of 398,000m2 and since 1966 has been producing Boeing 747s, 767s, and 777s for airlines across the globe. The assembly of the newer 787 Dreamliner also takes place at this factory.

Boeing’s Everett Factory is so big that it includes its own cafes, shops and even a theatre.
Boeing Everett Factory
Hyundai Motors Ulsan Factory

The Hyundai Motors Factory dominates the South Korean city of Ulsan. And it’s no wonder given that the plant is 5,050,000m2 in size and stretches across 1,285 acres of land.

Here are some more impressive facts- the factory features 5 production plants and is able to produce a car every 12 seconds, which equates to an amazing 1.53 million units annually.

Such is the size of the Hyundai Motors Ulsan Factory that it houses its own hospital, fire services, road network, and sewage treatment plant. In addition, the site has over 500,000 trees and an exclusive pier that has the capacity to host three 50,000-ton cargo ships simultaneously.
Hyundai Motors Ulsan Factory
Tesla Factory

Nestled in the foothills of Freemont California is Elon Musk’s Tesla Factory which makes for a prominent sight at 510,000m2 in size.

Instead of building a factory from scratch Tesla purchased this plant from General Motors and Toyota at a reported cost of $42 million.

Since 2010 Tesla has been producing its iconic Model S, Model 3, Model X and Roadster vehicles from this factory.
Tesla Factory Freemont California
Volkswagen Wolfsburg Plant

With over 40-million cars produced to-date, Volkwagen’s Wolfsburg plant is a veritable automotive-manufacturing powerhouse. It’s the largest auto plant in the world covering a vast 6,500,000m2. So big is the factory floor that some of the 73,730 employees are allowed to use bicycles to travel across the factory.

The plant is responsible for a large proportion of Volkswagen’s manufacturing output which means that at any one time employees can be working on more than five cars at a time.

The factory also features a unique paint shop which was the first of its kind to use special eco-friendly water-based paint on cars.
Volkswagen Wolfsburg Plant
You’ve read about the factories, now find out how they are staffed

Since 1970 Fircroft has been providing workforce solutions to the biggest names in global engineering and manufacturing. To find out how Fircroft can help staff your business, speak to us today.
Recent Comments
Please check out the Daikin plant in Waller, Texas. The building could hold 70+ full size football fields.
Shane, 14 June 2018
Thanks for your comment Shane. Yes, we'll definitely check out the Daikin plant. It sounds awesome! Matt
Matt Donnelly, 15 June 2018
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The biggest factories in the world - Time to read 5 min
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