Photo Documentation of the Production Process of a Classic Toy(For privacy reasons, employee names have been replaced with XXXXX.)
In the new toy factory in Burghaslach, the BobbyCar has been manufactured in over 60 different variants since 2001. Approximately 400,000 units are sold annually. However, the bestseller remains the Classic BobbyCar from 1972.
On the 320,000 square meter site, approximately 160 employees work in three shifts at one of the most modern toy factories in Europe. More than 1 million products leave the site each year.
To manufacture the individual parts for the BobbyCar, it requires large, precisely crafted metal molds. The milling process for a mold for the BobbyCar's body is monitored by a computer.
In the workshop, the two halves of the BobbyCar mold are attached to a clamping plate. This frame is then mounted in a blow molding machine.
In the workshop, the two halves of the BobbyCar mold are secured to a clamping plate. This assembly is then installed in a blow molding machine.
Mr. xxxxx (with 39 years of experience at the company) is currently polishing a mold. This is done partially by hand to achieve a truly perfect surface of the manufactured part in later production stages.
Mr. xxxxxx has been with the company for 37 years, starting as an apprentice. He now serves as the head of the entire production department and is responsible for procurement.
Regarding the red granules, Mr. Hofmann explains that it is a color concentrate known as "Masterbatch." This concentrate comes in various colors and is added to otherwise colorless plastic granules (polyethylene) to dye them.
Mr. xxxxx, as the department head of plastic manufacturing, is responsible for ensuring production meets the required quality standards. He oversees the installation of molds and the correct configuration of machines. He has also been with the company for 32 years.
The colored plastic is heated to 200°C to make it malleable and then extruded from the top as a tube. The previously prepared mold for the BobbyCar is now installed in the blow molding machine. As the hot plastic tube descends from above, both halves of the BobbyCar mold come together. Inside the mold, the tube is inflated with compressed air to perfectly conform to the metal mold. After 60 seconds, the mold parts open again, and the BobbyCar body is ready. Any excess mold material is trimmed an...
A robotic arm retrieves the approximately 1.5 kg BobbyCar body from the machine and passes the seam line of the two molded parts all around a hot air blower. This process melts and smoothens any excess material and burrs, ensuring that there are no sharp edges on the toy.
After the robotic arm has smoothed the body's burrs, it places them on a conveyor belt where they are carefully inspected by Mr. xxxxx before being temporarily stored for further processing in a large mesh container. Sixty BobbyCar chassis can fit into one mesh container.
Approximately 1,500 BobbyCar chassis are produced here daily. The photo shows 1,800 such chassis stored in the mesh containers.
In the large assembly hall, various toys are assembled and packaged. This is primarily done on fully automated assembly lines and partly at manual workstations. On the left side, the mesh containers with the BobbyCar chassis are already waiting for their assembly.
The wheels of the BobbyCar are manufactured using the same principle as the chassis. After they are printed, Ms. Freiheit inspects them and places them on a conveyor belt, from where they are then transported to an assembly line.
Here, at the manual workstation on the assembly line, Ms. xxxxx places the wheels and axles into an assembly fixture, where they are subsequently pressed with a metal cap by an automated machine. With over 17 years of experience at the company, she is familiar with every minute detail of the assembly process.
Once all the components of the BobbyCar have been gathered on the assembly line, this machine assembles the wheels and the axle steering. Finally, the BIG logo is affixed to the front. The steering wheel, handlebar, and remaining stickers are placed in the packaging box and will be assembled and attached by the customer later.
Mr. xxxxx (left) and Mr. xxxxx (right) are responsible as department heads for the final assembly. Mr. Vogel will succeed Mr. Tesauro, as he is set to retire soon after 42 years with the company.
The BobbyCar consists of a total of 31 components, of which the customer only assembles the handlebar and the steering wheel.
The BobbyCar has been delighting children as young as 12 months and assisting them in learning to walk for 45 years now.
©2023 by Thomas Michalczyk