Sanford Pencil Factory Tour
by Doug Martin

Page 4

FIG. 22. Production line

FIG. 24. Alignment

FIG. 26. Eraser insertion

FIG. 28. Packaging

FIG. 23. Stamping

FIG. 25. Ferrule installation

FIG. 27. Production line

FIG. 29. Palletizing

In the sequence of photographs on this page we will travel the full length of a single, modern pencil assembly line. Figure 22 is an overview showing the entire line, just left of center with the yellow pencils on the conveyor. You can see several such lines running simultaneously with different colored pencils visible. These are newly painted, now dry, heading for the next stage. Figure 23 shows a much more modern stamping machine - a series of apparatus that stamps four pencils at a time. Figure 24 shows the pencils after stamping, where one end is squared off to ready it for the ferrule. You can see in this photo that pencils at the farther end of the line have ferrules. Figure 25 shows the machinery that installs them. Ferrules are guided down the coiled tubes - the apparatus has a 'jiggler' that vibrates the tubes to keep the ferrules from jamming. Twelve are deposited onto pencils at the bottom where they are crimped onto the shaft. Right next to this is a similar apparatus that does the same thing with the eraser plugs (Figure 26). Pencils may be ejected from the line at this point if the machinery can determine they are of incorrect length. At any time during the manufacturing process, human operators may remove defective product from the line.
The time required for a pencil to travel the length of this line may be only a minute or two, but the pencils travel very quickly, and thousands can be finished in an hour's time.
Figure 27 shows the production line from the opposite end from the view in Figure 22. You can see the finished pencils piling up near the end of the conveyor. From here the pencils go to the packaging station (Figure 28), where machinery puts them first into packs of one dozen, then into boxes of 12 dozen. Finally, these boxes are bundled and stacked on pallets ready for shipment (Figure 29).

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