The complex process behind the making of toilets and sinks

This factory video details how a common toilet or sink are made from start to finish.
Christopher McFadden

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You probably use a sink or toilet pretty much every day, perhaps even several times a day. But, have you ever wondered how they are actually made at a factory? 

If so, then you are in for a very real treat. Here we track the production of these ubiquitous household items from raw materials to the final pieces. 

The process is actually pretty fascinating to watch, and, believe it or not, requires a lot of skill and care to complete. Let's find out. 

sink and toilet dry glaze
Source: Interesting Engineering

Step 1: Make the ceramic

The first step is to make the base ceramic for the toilet and sink. This usually involves mixing powdered clay, earthen elements, and other powders. These are loaded into a large hopper using a JCB at the factory. 

The mixture of basic ingredients is then fed along with a series of conveyor belts until they reach the main mixing hopper. Here they are mixed with water ready to make the ceramic that will be used to make the toilet and sink units. 

toilet and sink powder
Source: Interesting Engineering

This hopper then feeds the clay, other ingredients, and water into a rotating mixer that continuously rotates to mix the materials together into a consistent mixture. Once ready, the ceramic slurry is drained from the mixer and fed into the production line ready for casting the white goods. 

Step 2: Casting the toilet and sink

Once the ceramic mix is ready it is fed into a series of molds to make whichever white good is required. The mix is poured in automatically and stopped when each mold is full. 

This is much the same process as when you make Plaster-of-Paris casts at home, except on a much bigger scale of course. 

toilet and sink molds
Source: Interesting Engineering

When the ceramic has partially solidified, skilled operatives clean up some of the mold lines as required. With that done, the casts are removed from the molds and left to fully cure. 

toilet and sink casts
Source: Interesting Engineering

As they dry, other skilled workmen clean up the casts using wet sponges and clothes. As part of the process, an initial quality check is made of some of the items to check for defects. 

Any found to be defective is destroyed and recycled back into the main ceramic slurry. There is no reason to waste perfectly good clay after all. 

Step 3: Coating and finishing the items

Once the ceramic casts are fully dry, the next step is to coat them in a waterproof covering. Each item is placed on a special conveyor belt with individual turntables that enable each cast to be rotated freely. 

Along the assembly line, skilled workers give each piece a visual inspection and then sand down/polish each item as needed. This may take a few passes, but the pieces needed to be as smooth as physically possible.

toilet and sinks polish
Source: Interesting Engineering

With that done, another series of workers rinse down each cast using compressed air to remove any loose dust. This is a vitally important step to ensure that the glaze affixes to the ceramic and ensure they remain waterproof once complete. 

The next phase in the production is to apply a special glaze to the casts to make them waterproof. This is applied by yet more specialized workers using spray guns. 

toilets and sinks glaze
Source: Interesting Engineering

All exposed surfaces of the casts are coated by rotating them on their turntables. As with other steps, yet more so, the worker must ensure that all exposed surfaces of clay/ceramic are coated. 

With that done, each item is once again checked by a qualified specialist, and branding is added while the glaze is still damp. 

With that done, each item is then left to dry on racks. 

Once the glaze is fully cured, one final quality assurance check is made on each piece. If they pass, each item is further branded, where required, and warning/instruction labels are added to each piece as needed.

With that done, each item can then be packaged, stored, and prepared for transportation to its final destination. 

If you enjoyed watching these common household items being manufactured, you might enjoy learning how another is made? How about, for example, how metal door handles are produced?

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