I’ve always wondered what it would be like to run a factory. That might sound strange, especially coming from someone with zero experience in large-scale production or logistical management. But then, maybe it’s precisely that lack of experience that makes me curious. I guess there’s some kind of power in rolling out batches upon batches of identical items, and watching these flawless doppelgangers tumble into a box or a bin or the back of a truck. That’s how I imagine it goes down in factory-land, anyway.
Maybe the appeal is amplified by seeing more examples of large-scale commercial solar across Melbourne. This means that running a factory is not necessarily a dark cesspit where energy resources go to die. Not to say that big manufacturing companies aren’t extremely energy intensive, but it’s now at least possible to run them on renewables… and what if, like, they create a product that assists in improving the world’s resource efficiency, such as ultra-strong and lightweight solar panels?
That’s the kind of factory I’d be curious to try running for a day – namely, an idealised one that wouldn’t bring up feelings of shame around contributing pure junk to the world. It would gleam with inspired efficiency and economy of design, a state-of-the-art 100kW system poised atop its roof, which is also designed for passive cooling. A fleet of electric trucks are parked in front, charging from additional solar systems tailored to the purpose. Native pollinators encircle the building’s grounds, joined in uplifting song.
I’m starting to understand what interests me about the notion of running a factory. It’s the principles of design and efficiency involved, and integrated at numerous levels across the whole operation – from infrastructure and equipment to power and systems. Where else do so many factors come together in such an interconnected way, united in an overarching scheme to minimise waste and maximise productivity? And who’s to say that such a matrix of elements couldn’t amount to something that is, on some level, beautiful?