Have you ever wondered exactly how a washer and dryer comes to be? I have at times and when I had the chance to head out to Wisconsin and tour the Speed Queen factory I got an inside look at how the washer and dryers we see in stores come to be from start to finish. It is quite the interesting processes!
With Speed Queen before they even make it to the building processes, they have a 3 year adventure. Three years where they get the idea they want for the product, 1 year of planning. building, making it all come together and then 2 years of testing to make sure the product is up to their standard. They test things by lighting the inside of the dryer on fire, electric shocks from things like lightening, and many more tests to make sure the product is up to their quality standard before heading out on the line to be produced for consumer use!
Then after the prototypes pass their tests and are given the A-OK to become a product line for consumers the process heads to the factory where they are made!
When you are first going into a factory you have to make sure you have on the proper protection! Of course the expected eyewear because in a factory there is metal and no one wants that in their eye!
BUT then they gave us these….
Ok so they do not look like much, they are metal shoe coverings to protect your feet when you don’t have work boots, then you start walking and they make this awesome clop clop noise that is just so much fun to make when you are walking. Ok so I might have had a little to much fun with the shoe covers 😉 They are called Pro-Tek-To (heehee get it? Protect toe? But I call them clop clops 😉 )
We all see what our washers look like when we bring them home but before they are a washer they start out as just a GIANT roll of steel. Comparing it to me and I am 4 foot 10! So its a HUGE roll, they need to use machines to move it, it is crazy heavy I do not remember the exact weight but there is no way anyone is moving it with out a machine!
Then they take the GIANT roll of steel and place it on this machine, which rolls it out and sends it down where this MASSIVE ( I am not even sure I could try to begin to tell you how big it is) stamps a pattern that cuts the steel into the shapes needed for the parts of the washer!
I “tried” to take a selfie to show you how BIG the press is, but had no such luck. Thankfully the Speed Queen guy in charge of taking photos for us while on the tour snapped a shot of me attempting the selfie!
Then after the steel is cut some of the pieces have to be shaped, so they go to that section, some need different things done to them and off they go.
After they have all their parts, and they do their “thing” to the metal (like making it white, putting together the electronics stuff ect) it is time to put the washer (or dryer) together!
The washers and dryers are all put together by people, in a step by step assembly line. Now before anyone thinks that this is like a bunch of people in a tiny room putting together washers and dryers the building is HUGE (well it is really a few buildings but for the sake of explaining sizes I will call it one because they are all also connected to each other).
Everyone we walked past while on the tour had a smile on their face, and not just the ones who could see us coming as we were walking but even the ones who we could see but they couldn’t see us. It was a very nice experience to be able to tell that people enjoyed working there. We met one lady who has been there for 45 years! Yes 45 years! I don’t think I know anyone who enjoys working anywhere that they would stay for 45 years! I also found out that they have a few married couples who work side by side on the assembly line! Speed Queen also has a program to help people who work there go to school and get tuition assistance, which I found to be awesome because if someone doesn’t want to work in the factory level they can work their way up and still stay in the same company! Plus I learned that many generations of the same family work there too!!
Ok so I side tracked a little bit there going off on the company things, but a company that has happy employees or people working there for 45 years and does things for their employees because they want to help them is a company that I have to say stands out higher then others to me. Things like how they treat their employees is not always something we look at when buying appliances but maybe it is something we should start looking at. If they treat their employees right and that makes quality employees then quality employees who are happy make quality products in general because they care about their job.
Ok so back to the tour, after they have all the parts they go on the assembly line where they are all put together.
This is where the magic of putting all the pieces together starts! There are many different stations your appliances stops at in the process of being put together. This is the first step of many in putting the washer or dryer together…
…. and down the line the go, step by step and piece by piece being put together by hand.
When they need to be moved long distances there are several different ways they are moved. From the moving track to the above moving tracking to get where they need to go to be put together.
Then at the end of the line each washer and dryer is turned on to make sure it works. They don’t run a full cycle but if there was a problem where it doesn’t work they can send it back down the line to fix it so no one gets an unworking appliance! However, the fact that they don’t run a full cycle doesn’t really matter because Speed Queen washers come with a 5 year parts and labor warranty so you are covered if something goes wrong!
Ok so I am sure you have noticed in these photos that there is a lot of shiny metal, there is a lot of hands on putting together and there is ALOT of something that you might think is missing but not needed at all at Alliance Laundry Systems (which is where the Speed Queen machines are made) that would be Plastic! You will not find it in your machine!
You are probably wondering why I am even mentioning this but it is important, which bear with me as I go off and ramble for a minute because I will get to that, but a new thought popped in my head and I don’t want to lose it but I promise it will all make sense 🙂
So you all know I am a BIG fan of trash picking, and not just because the items I am getting are free but because most of time they are old items, they are items that nothing is wrong with, they are built solid and older. Tossed away items that are made to stand up over time but people want new and shiny so they toss the old solid piece to get the new shiny one. Well the old stuff is still working and still solid and my comment so often about old stuff lasts longer stands true for Speed Queen.
No you will not get an old washer or dryer, you will get a brand new one when you buy one but you are getting the old quality. The quality that everything used to be made of, the quality of when things would actually last! Speed Queen hold itself high to sticking to what they know works and lasts, and they haven’t changed it. Yes now you get a digital screen for your settings and using the machine (which by the way the testing done on them calms my fears of my electrical stuff dying on a machine) BUT the solid build and old school supplies they used long ago they have not changed they still use them!
Ok so with that being said, they don’t use plastic, they use metal. Metal because it lasts. Plastic breaks. New products break because of new design to cut costs. Speed Queen uses old designs for new products and doesn’t worry about cutting the cost.
Ok so you are thinking, they don’t worry about cutting the costs so that means I am going to pay more because they are not doing anything to save money in production. Well we can compare it to my love for Dyson, which we all know is a strong love, and infatuation if you must. Is Dyson made with plastic? Yes BUT the quality and long term use ends up saving me money in the long run. Which I buy 1 vacuum every 5-6 years at $300 (sometimes less when I can get a deal) versus buying a $100 vacuum that lasts me a year that is a savings of $200!
Ok so now back to the washers and dryers…. I am sure you are thinking Lauren I have been reading forever and my coffee cup is empty, so I will finish up quickly. I didn’t realize how many words until I just looked at the word counter 🙂
You have probably seen Speed Queen washers, they are most known for their commercial washers and dryers. Chances are you have used one, you know the commercial ones in the laundry mat? That is where they are well known for because they last and hold up because of the quality. Well the ones for homes are made the same way, same parts just smaller!! So if they can last in a laundry mat environment then can you imagine how well they should hold up in a home!
I am going to find out, as they are having a set delivered to my house in a few weeks and I am going to test the heck out of them and share with you my findings 🙂
And now you can go back to what I took you from 30 minutes ago 🙂 But what can I say I am a bit of a talker 😉
Disclaimer: I am a Speed Queen Ambassador. My expenses were covered and a washer and dryer are on their way to me, but All opinions are 100% my own and information shared with in the post is based on my personal experience.