Intel's Ronler Acres Plant

Silicon Forest

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Jumble got me started and I followed the chain. Other people, like you, might have followed other links, but these are the ones I followed.

The captions in today's Jumble cartoon sound awfully specific. Could it be referring to a real world event? Google turns up a story about Travis Barker, a drummer from Fontana, California, who has written just such a book. John, Sammy and Sir Paul (mentioned in the caption) might be Johnny Cash, Sammy Hagar and Paul Wall. Travis survived a nasty plane crash seven years ago in South Carolina.

Fontana may not be a thriving metropolis, but it does have its points:
Kaiser Steel, Fontana, California, back in the day.
Kaiser Steel built the largest steel plant on the West Coast during World War II. Located in the Los Angeles area’s Inland Empire town of Fontana, the plant operated for many years after the war, and employed more than 2,500 workers at its peak. Kaiser Steel declared bankruptcy in the 1980s, and much of the plant was torn down and redeveloped. Some of its modern components were purchased by the Chinese government, disassembled by a Chinese crew, and reassembled in China. A large part of the plant was paved over and turned into an automotive race track, the Automobile Association’s California Speedway. Another portion is operated as California Steel Industries, making pipe and steel products out of slabs and rolls from other sources. As one of the few remaining heavy industry sites near Los Angeles, the site is a common filming location. It was used as a location for the film Black Rain, and for the Schwarzenegger showdown with the cyborg in Terminator II. The film Pearl Harbor was refused permission to film at the site because the operator of the plant, California Steel, was partially owned by Kawasaki Steel, a Japanese company. - Center for Land Use Interpretation
One steel mill leads to another:
Geneva Steel © Chris Dunker (Dunker Imaging)
The Last Open Hearth In The U.S. was closed down in December 1991 at Geneva Steel in Utah. The end of an era for a nation that, in 1970, still produced nearly 40% of it’s raw steel out of open hearth furnaces. The Geneva OH-shop [Open Hearth shop] contained ten 340 ton furnaces first tapped in 1944 . . . Large portions of the mill (caster, plate and strip rolling mill) were sold to Chinese steel maker Qindago Steel. - Steel-Photo dot org
Huh, another steel mill dismantled and shipped to China. Sounds a lot like what the Russians were doing to their own stuff when the Germans invaded in WW2 (dismantled their industry and shipped it farther east, out of the reach of the Germans). Also a lot like what the Germans were doing when the conquered another country (take their stuff and ship to the fatherland) and what the Russians did after the war (take the German's stuff and ship it to the motherland.)

Anyway, Open Hearth Furnaces were the way to make steel, up until about 1950 when Basic Oxygen Steelmaking came to the for. The Basic Oxygen process was so much quicker and so much more efficient it would have made sense to shift over as rapidly as possible, but that didn't happen. Problem was that the steel companies had a huge investment in the Open Hearth process and they couldn't afford to write it all off.

While I'm following this trail of steel, I came across this very cool picture:
Rolling Mill Operators inside the helmstand of the 44 inch blooming mill at the Republic Steel company in Cleveland, USA, after 1968. Left to right: The stationary steam engineer, the roller, the manipulator.
And this one:
80 years ago Mexican Artist Diego Rivera finished his famous murals of the Ford  River Rouge plant.
The Ford River Rouge complex was the largest integrated factory in the world. Over 100,000 workers were employed there in the 1930s. Hyundai's factory in Ulsan, South Korea is now the largest.

P.S. Another view of the mural here.

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