This year (2012) the UK Trad trip were lucky enough to find themselves in North Wales on a wet and windy afternoon with little to do - doubly lucky as we had been invited to take a look around the DMM factory where all the DMM hardware is designed, made and shipped from.
This is a little about what we saw when Ben showed us round.
The process begins with rods of an Aluminium alloy of various thicknesses.
Of course DMM doesn't just make biners they make hexes nuts and of course the Dragon and Demon cams.Here are some examples of the rods delivered for making nuts.
The rods are literally chopped into the appropriate length. Each biner model requires it's own thickness and length.
The sections of rod are then bent using machines and begin to take on that characteristic biner shape.
Now the pressing can begin.
In the DMM factory there are half a dozen pressing machines. These amazing machines (with the help of a mould) apply many tonnes of force in a single press, hot forging the biners and removing metal from where it's not needed and moving it to where it is needed.
Can anyone guess what biners are being pressed below?
Each biner has of course it's own mould. Here is the mould for a Phantom screwgate.
Definately looking more like a biner now :)
Once pressed the excess metal is removed, the metal is not wasted it is recycled just down the road, the excess metal is not fit to be used for biners, instead it's used to make coke cans and the like. Here you can see the excess of a Spectre 2 being removed.
After pressing and removing the extra metal the biner is heat treated to a specific temperature and quickly cooled to obtain the maximum strength possible. This hardens the metal, and it's done in huge vats like these.
By a man who looks like this.
The biners now are starting to really look like biners. They do have quite rough edges so these are removed by tumbling them for many hours in ceramic blocks till all the rough edges are smooth.
It was at this point my legs started aching :) I had no idea the birth of a biner could be to involved.
The biners are then machined, holes drilled and complex shapes are carved into the biner. This is done by these machines.
At last the assembly process can begin.
Until recently one single employee Medwyn was responsible for attaching every single gate on a DMM biner - you gotta thank her. Here she explained to us how to attach a gate, Flo gave it a good try - but hats off to Medwn who makes it look so simple.
Watch Medwyn explain to Flo how it's done - Here
Watch Medwyn show us how it's done - Here
Once assembled some final tweeking is in order, each biner is adjusted so that the gates open/close flawlessly.
The final stage is inspection, each and every product is inspected here for defects.
It really makes you think when you buy a biner, just how much effort and people were involved in the process. Up to 20 pairs of hands have been involved in every biner from start to finish.
I for one left having a much higher respect for each and every biner/cam and nut I have, just knowing how much work and effort goes into each and every one.
Much tanks to Ben from DMM for taking the time and having the patience to give us a tour, oh and a welcome cuppa at the end.
If you want to know more - check out this clip I found online - Here
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