Sanford Pencil Factory Tour
by Doug Martin

Page 3

FIG. 17. Ferrule raw material

FIG. 19. Ferrule painting

FIG. 18. Ferrule stamping machine

FIG. 20. Making erasers

FIG. 21. A pile of plugs

While the pencil cores and wood slats are being processed, there are other steps of the pencil making process that are being performed simultaneously. Sanford also manufactures the ferrules and erasers at the site. In figure 17 you can see a spool of aluminum tape, about one inch wide, being fed into an enclosed machine. This is a ferrule stamping machine. There are several of these machines lined up in a row - they are extrememly noisy, so they are kept in sound-deadening enclosures. Figure 18 shows a closeup of the machine taken through the window of the enclosure. There is some blurring because the machine was in operation and some parts were moving. At right you can see the aluminum tape entering the first station, which punches a hole and cuts off a piece. Each station successively draws the piece into a cylinder, until the last station, at left, knurls and ejects the ferrule. There were several large drums of ferrules setting nearby. Many of these ferrules are used as-is, but some are finished further with plating and paint striping. Figure 19 shows the ferrule striping machine. Those who are familiar with brand-name pencils will recognize these as the ferrules used on the Mirado brand.
Figure 20 is a machine that produces eraser plugs. At the far end, there is a hopper containing the raw materials. These are fed into an oven to melt them, then the mixture is formed into a long rope. Zooming into a section of Fig. 20, you can see the 'rope' emerging from the oven. The 'rope' then feeds through a curing/cooling chamber and emerges momentarily before entering the cutting section. Finally, you can see, in Figure 20, the cut eraser 'plugs' dropping out the end into a tub. These plugs are later dumped into a tumbler where they are tumbled around for a while to round off the corners. Figure 21 shows a large container of millions of plugs.

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