Friday, October 11, 2013

pneumatic tube factour tour part three: testing room

Time to return to our tour of the German pneumatic tube factory. We have left the workshop and now enter the showroom and testing room. The showroom takes up one side of the room and the testing room the other. The rooms are completely interlaced with a web of pneumatic tube systems.

Along the walls are an array of different sending stations, with bottom loading, top loading and front loading mechanisms. Some have baskets below, with pillows in them. There is a desk with two very large computer screens, one showing the journeys of tubes, the other looks to me to be utterly indecipherable code. Tubes cover the ceiling and it is hard to see where one leads or another, like a mathematical puzzle in pale purple plastic. 

One of the engineers takes me to a sending station and sends off a tube. He puts in a capsule and it whizzes off – then there is a click – he is waiting for this, and the tube is returned – he says that the click tells you when to expect the tube back. My host Karin tells me that the showroom is used to show clients what they could expect from a model, what features they may want. The systems can be tailored to the client's request. 

There are many different systems in this room, which can be tailored in order to meet the material and social conditions of their new home. It is fascinating to see all the tubes and systems on show like this, and all the tinkering that takes place, by the engineers and others on the factory floor.

Next instalment of the tour: pneumatic tube maintenance.

Photographs my own.

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