Spending the day at a caulking factory might not seem like fun, but the longer you’re there, the more it seems like touring the Wonka Factory.
For anyone who’s a fan of How It’s Made or Modern Marvels, this is the post for you. While up in Baltimore for a recent trip, I was able to take a day to tour the world of DAP both at their plant (one of them) and their world headquarters.
In an era of online and over-technology, it’s very easy for brands to hide behind their computer screens and red tape, well, DAP welcomed me with open arms and, in the course of a day, showed me the inner workings of the DAP culture. The plant tour was given by the plant’s operations director (great guy, by the way), which for a total nerd like myself, is a great resource and someone that I had the pleasure of bugging with all my silly questions during the tour. Prior to signing in, you’re instantly greeted by, what are affectionately known as “the big caulk tubes” and that’s when you start to get a feel for the scale of production of the plant itself. On a given day, DAP goes through roughly one train car full of raw materials, sometimes two. This material all gets pumped into the holding tanks for use later or that same day.
As for the mixing of the products themselves, you’ll notice it’s kind of broken into two major volumes: large and small. These two sizes of mixing vessels allow for the plant to support the higher demand production lines as well as maintain the lower volume production lines at the same time. Basically, more common items (Dynaflex (seen below) and Alex) get made in larger vats than something like window glazing. It was a little hard to count and keep an eye out for everything, but I counted at least 9 product lines going while I was walking around, and I’m sure that’s not all. There were products moving on the floor, moving via forklift, even products 10-15ft over your head.
The filling lines had to be one of my favorite things on the tour. Seeing everything working in harmony like that, filling containers with such accuracy and precision just absolutely astounds me. Augers, pumps, pipes, and conveyor belts… it’s like an ode to mechanization. Equally as impressive was the lack of people on the factory floor. While there were certainly a good amount of people running the floor, testing, and double checking, several of the machines kind of run themselves and the employees are there to “feed it” tubes,caps, etc.
As you can imagine, the R&D lab is pretty top secret, but what I could take pictures of, I did. The R&D lab was great to see because it’s here, at headquarters, where DAP tests off of their products, as well as competitor products. In the lab you’ll find all sorts of high-tech, very expensive equipment, most of which I have no idea what it does. One thing that was great to see was the workshop. Since DAP manufactures several construction adhesives, it’s imperative for them to test them in real world scenarios, in fact, while I was there, material was being cut for subfloor testing. Some other, less advanced, tools that were located in the R&D lab were freezers and a hot [humidity] room; with these facilities, DAP tests their products in all weather environments and in almost every condition, that way you can be rest assured that a product with the DAP name on it will stand up, no matter what.
While plant and headquarters tours are not the day-to-day goings on for DAP, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to do so and to be able to create some transparency for the caulk and sealant brand we all love! For more videos and posts, check out my hashtag (#DaywithDAP) on Instagram and/or the link here: www.instagram.com/explore/tags/daywithdap/. Be sure to check out more DAP posts on my blog and social channels and don’t hesitate to reach out to DAP with any questions you might have about any of their products.