A sleek, colourful range cooker is the starting point for many kitchen designs but just how much work goes into making each one? I went to Rangemaster’s factory in Leamington Spa to find out.
The tour started with a sneak peek at the raw materials – steel and plenty of it. From here, we went to see parts and doors being pressed out of it by huge machines.
The parts are then put through a large washer, and taken for welding and polishing.
One particularly neat thing is how they use the leftover steel from pressing out the doors – they make grill pans with it! Waste not, want not.
Then comes the fun part – painting! However, gone are the days of hand spraying. Drip-free and with an even finish, these machines use electrostatic technology, which invovles the spraying of electrically-charged paint at the metal. A magnetic attraction pulls paint particles towards the steel, resulting in a smooth surface.
While there’s a huge team of highly skilled people working in the factory, some elements of production need a machine on hand. Robots handle some of the finer and more repetitive labour but they’re just as much of a part of the workforce. These two are nicknamed Torvill and Dean for their graceful moves that are in perfect sync:
Of course a pretty outside matters not a jot if the inside doesn’t do what it should. So onto the ovens. To prevent trolleys of oven cavities blocking up the factory floor, there’s a clever system where they whizz over your head. A safety cage stops them from potentially tumbling down but it’s hard not to be aware that ovens are floating by. I was warned about cavities at school but I don’t think this is what they meant.
The range cookers are then assembled and tested to make sure that they work perfectly before being allowed to leave the factory floor.
Then they’re given a final check over and a polish…
…and sent off to their new homes to be the gorgeous, glossy centrepiece of someone’s kitchen – maybe even yours!
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- Behind the scenes: Ercol factory tour
- The kitchen planning experience
- Private tour of Luce by Hotpoint’s showroom