I don't know how many are aware of the India of Inchinnan tyre factory.
While the industrial part, the actual tyre factory itself, has been razed and replace by some new stuff, the original art deco office front has survived, and faces the passing road, so it's not a complete loss.
The old tyre factory was a fascinating place, where I cut my engineering teeth, almost - not as an employee, but one of the few who could keep the old electronics working. I don't think there was anything there that I had ever been taught about, so we were dependent on original manuals etc being found somewhere in the workshop or stores. Read - guess - repair!
While the works were very big, they weren't huge, but even so, it had its own bus stop and shelters just off the road, so once employed a lot of people. When I was there, it was like a ghost ship, and the place seemed to run on its own, with tyres'n'stuff moving around on conveyors, yet one could walk the length of the plant and not meet a soul. Most of the bodies were in the assembly, where they actually made the tyres by hand, adding the various layers of rubber and other material to a former until they built up the finished carcass prior to cooking - vulcanising, inside a pressure cooker called a bomb.
While I managed to collect a few pics of the outside, this was obviously in the days of film, and before UrbEx. It never occurred to me back then to sneak in a camera, and I think I would probably have been given permission if I'd asked - after all, I could have ended production for a while just by sighing and saying "Sorry, can't this one going again".
Although the plant in the pic set found in the link below is a bit larger, it has an uncanny similarity to that of India of Inchinnan in many ways.
The two shared a lack of repair, no maintenance on the buildings in any way, and the same for the grounds, where dead stuff was just abandoned outside, and anything that grew was just left to get on with it.
So, it may not be India of Inchinnan, which I sadly can't provide pics of, but when it was there and working, the look and feel was very much like this ZIL plant near Moscow:
It started life as an airship factory and became India Tyres after WWI. There are some good interior and exterior photos (visible to members only) on the Airfields Information Exchange website, which do indeed confirm the resemblance to the Zil factory.
I remember this factory quite well, I used to cycle past it regularly in the late 70s & 80s. It had a tall, brick chimney with India written on it (Eastern Bloc resemblance again) and it had a short test track right beside the A8 which I never saw being used. I think the adjacent sports fields and houses were all part of the plant.
Here is a link to my photo of the Art Deco office building on the geograph web site http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/467525. It has a restaurant which is open to the public and it uses an airship in the logo. There is also an airship sculpture in the new Riverside park between Braehead and Renfrew which commemorates the airship link with the India site. http://www.geograph.org.uk/photo/1794157
And a classic example of a 'posed' industrial shot.
Your man there in his clean suit, white shirt and spotless bunnet never did a days' work there in reality
This area of the factory is where they measure out the carbon black for the tyres, and this went into the same mix.
The only place that might have stayed remotely clean for a while could have been at receiving, where the bulk material was brought in and measured for batches, which happened before it reached what was call the Banbury, where it actually met the carbon black and was combined before going to the calenders, massive machines that rolled all the material together, mixing and heating them prior to rolling them out as a flat strip, which was then cut to size to be layered into the tyres.
If any of you have worked in a factory that used carbon black, then you'll know everything get covered with the ultra-fine powder, and you cannot even walk through as a visitor without coming out black anywhere you might have bumped into anything.
I had it down to fine art, and really irritated folk by coming out clean - apart from my hands of course.
Here's another example of a tyre factory of the same vintage as India of Inchinnan.
This is Mabor - Continental Mabor Indústria de Pneus S.A. manufactures passenger tires. The company was founded in 1940 and is based in Lousado, Portugal. Continental Mabor Indústria de Pneus S.A. operates as a subsidiary of Continental AG.
The place is so clean - the pics must have been taken not all that long after it opened and went into production.
As I noted before, with the Russian factory, although the layout may differ (and it's so clean) this is much like the scenes that could have been found in Inchinnan, all the way up to the closure.
The machines and methods were unchanged, and in many way are still the same.
I spent a lot of time there, fixing broken stuff - I don't think anyone had a clue as most folk I knew in the business of electronics always struck me as unadventurous/uninterested, and afraid to put their learning to use, and tackle the old high power valve based system.
If it didn't have transistors, and could survive more than 12 V, they seemed to run a mile rather than get their hands dirty
Find the Mabor tyre factory pics here - intriguing to think they echo a plant I saw 50 years later:
Things would be so different if I was there today, with a digital camera
But in the days of film, nobody really thought of this (as a visitor at least) and the cameras were so slow, sneaky covert shots on client sites were not really practical/
My father was for a while involved with tyre testing for India. There were a number of defined representative routes that were driven at fixed times; usually the middle of the night; on which the tyres were assessed. The driving instructions were very detailed and i believe that vehicle parameters may have been recorded; this was the 1950s. I wish that I had paid a bit moer attention to what he was doing.
This place also looks remarkably clean, but then again is not as old.
While the factory was not dirty, processing the rubber mixture full of carbon black (and other sticky goodies) meant it was still coated with a film of this mix which settled from the air, as the bombs (the pressure vessels where the raw tyres were cooked under pressure as described below, to vulcanise the material) steamed away and their hot contents were exposed at the end of the process.
Fortunately, the raw materials were measured/weighed/mixed elsewhere - and that place was BLACK FILTHY!
It's kind of funny to reflect on how little the manufacturing of tyres has changed over the year (ok, fancy modern equipment - but the man part is much the same) as videos I see of 'new' factories shows much the same as I saw at India, and that was an old place which had seen little modernisation.
Never been in a new tyre factory, just once in a re-tread / remould factor (the machined seemed very basic) . Been in a BANDAG 'recap' place a few times , nothing much to remember with plant or tyre moulds - just vulcanize ovens seemed to take up floor space. Much seemed to be manual workusing hand held air-tools on the casing preparation , although IIRC there were machines to skive / shave the bulk of the original rubber off in preparation