How It's Made (2001–…): Season 3, Episode 1 - Pre-inked Stamps/Cranberries/Cotton Yarn/Road Signs - full transcript

Find out how pre-inked stamps, cranberries, cotton yarn, road signs are made.


CAPTIONS PAID FOR BY
DISCOVERY COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

Narrator:
TODAY ON "HOW IT'S MADE"...

PRE-INKED STAMPS...

...CRANBERRIES...

...COTTON YARN...

...AND ROAD SIGNS.

"PAID," "RUSH," "APPROVED"
ARE SOME OF THE TERMS

ROUTINELY STAMPED
ONTO DOCUMENTS.

PROFESSIONALS,
SUCH AS ENGINEERS,

HAVE THEIR OFFICIAL STAMPS, TOO.

FOR YEARS, YOU HAD TO
DAB THE STAMP ON AN INK PAD

FOR EACH IMPRESSION.

NOWADAYS YOU CAN GET STAMPS
WITH THE INK BUILT RIGHT IN.

THE PROCESS BEGINS WITH A DESIGN

THAT EITHER THE STAMP COMPANY
OR ITS CUSTOMER CREATES

WITH STANDARD GRAPHICS SOFTWARE.

THEY PRINT THE STAMP DESIGN
ONTO PAPER

USING A HIGH-QUALITY
LASER PRINTER,

THEN PLACE THE PRINTOUT
UNDER AN IMAGING CAMERA.

THEY FEED IN A BLANK SHEET
OF NEGATIVE FILM...

...THEN PHOTOGRAPH THE PRINTOUT.

30 SECONDS LATER,
OUT COMES THE NEGATIVE.

THE DESIGN IS LIGHT,
THE BACKGROUND DARK.

NOW THEY CAN BEGIN
MAKING THE MOLD FOR THE STAMP.

THEY APPLY THE NEGATIVE

TO A PLATE
OF LIGHT-SENSITIVE POLYMER --

A PLASTIC-LIKE MATERIAL.

THEN THEY VACUUM OUT THE AIR
TO PREVENT DEFECTS IN THE MOLD.

THEN THEY EXPOSE THE POLYMER
PLATE TO ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT

FOR APPROXIMATELY THREE MINUTES.

THE U.V. PENETRATES THROUGH THE
LIGHT PART OF THE NEGATIVE --

THE STAMP DESIGN --

AND HARDENS
THE POLYMER UNDERNEATH.

THE REST OF THE POLYMER
IS SHIELDED

BY THE DARK PORTIONS
OF THE NEGATIVE,

SO IT DOESN'T CHANGE.

A WASH CYCLE THEN SCRUBS AWAY
THIS UNHARDENED POLYMER,

LEAVING BEHIND A PERFECT MOLD
IN THE SHAPE OF THE STAMP.

NOW THEY COVER THE MOLD

WITH A SHEET OF SYNTHETIC RESIN
CALLED BAKELITE

AND PUT IT INTO A MACHINE
CALLED A VULCANIZER.

THE MACHINE HEATS THE BAKELITE

TO JUST OVER
309 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT,

THEN FORCES IT INTO THE MOLD
USING 2 TO 3 TONS OF PRESSURE.

AFTER FOUR MINUTES,
THE BAKELITE STAMP IS READY.

TO BE MORE PRODUCTIVE,

THE FACTORY ACTUALLY MOLDS
SEVERAL STAMPS AT A TIME.

NEXT COMES THE BUILT-IN INK.

THEY SCREW THE BAKELITE STAMP

INTO WHAT'S CALLED
THE PRE-INK MOLD,

THEN POUR IN A MIXTURE
OF INK AND GEL.

THEY COVER THE MOLD
AND VACUUM OUT THE AIR,

A PROCESS THAT TAKES 12 MINUTES.

THE MOLD THEN GOES INTO
A HEAT PRESS FOR 17 MINUTES.

THE PRESS APPLIES 2 TONS
OF PRESSURE TO EXPEL EXCESS INK

AND HEATS THE INK GEL
TO ABOUT 260 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT,

TRANSFORMING IT TO ROUGHLY THE
CONSISTENCY OF A MARSHMALLOW.

SO IT WON'T OVERCOOK,

THE MOLD GOES ONTO A SPECIAL
COOLING TABLE FOR 12 MINUTES.

NEXT, IT'S SET OUT TO COOL
FOR ANOTHER 45 MINUTES,

THIS TIME ON NEWSPAPERS,
WHICH SOAK UP MORE EXCESS INK.

FINALLY, THEY WRAP THE MOLD
IN PAPER TOWELS AND NEWSPAPERS

AND VACUUM OUT
THE LAST DROPS OF EXCESS INK.

THEN THEY QUICKLY SEAL THE BACK
OF THE STAMP TO LOCK THE INK IN.

NOW THEY CAN CUT APART
THE INDIVIDUAL STAMPS.

THEY GLUE THE STAMPS BY HAND

ONTO THE BASE
OF THE STAMP HANDLES.

BEFORE THEY'RE SHIPPED OUT
TO THE CUSTOMER,

ALL STAMPS UNDERGO
A QUALITY-CONTROL CHECK

TO MAKE SURE THEY'LL LEAVE
A LASTING IMPRESSION.

Narrator: CRANBERRIES ARE ONE
OF JUST A HANDFUL OF FRUITS

THAT ARE NATIVE
TO NORTH AMERICA.

BEFORE THE EUROPEANS ARRIVED,

THE INDIANS USED THEM
FOR FOOD AND MEDICINE.

THE CRANBERRY VINE
IS WELL-SUITED

TO A HARSHER CLIMATE.

IT THRIVES IN LOW TEMPERATURES

AND LOVES ACIDIC SOIL
THAT'S SCARCE IN NUTRIENTS.

CRANBERRIES ARE RIPE FOR
THE PICKING IN LATE SEPTEMBER.

AT HARVESTTIME,
FARMERS FLOOD THEIR FIELDS

TO MAKE THE CRANBERRIES
FLOAT TO THE SURFACE.

THEN THEY USE A MACHINE
CALLED A BEATER.

IT GENERATES
UNDERWATER TURBULENCE,

PULLING THE BERRIES
OFF THE VINES.

THE BEATER IS SUSPENDED
FROM A MOBILE BRIDGE

THAT'S COMPUTER-GUIDED

TO SYSTEMATICALLY WORK ITS WAY
THROUGH THE ENTIRE FIELD.

THE BEATER CUTS A SWATH ABOUT
23 FEET WIDE WITH EACH SWEEP.

WORKERS MOVE
THE FLOATING CRANBERRIES

TO ONE CORNER OF THE FIELD...

...WHERE A PUMP TRANSFERS THEM
TO A WAITING TRUCK.

ALONG THE WAY, THE BERRIES GET
A PRELIMINARY RINSING

TO REMOVE BRANCHES AND LEAVES.

AT THE FACTORY,
THE TRUCK UNLOADS ITS CARGO.

THE CRANBERRIES TRAVEL
ALONG THE WATER CANAL

AND ONTO A CONVEYOR BELT,

THEN THROUGH A CLEANING STATION,

WHERE WORKERS USE BRUSHES
AND WATER JETS

TO GET RID OF ANY REMAINING
LEAVES AND BRANCHES.

THEN THEY DUMP THE CRANBERRIES
INTO LARGE BINS

TO BE FROZEN
FOR UP TO SEVERAL MONTHS.

TO PRODUCE CRANBERRY JUICE,

THEY DEFROST THE FROZEN BERRIES
IN HOT WATER,

THEN MASH THEM --
SKINS, SEEDS, AND ALL --

INTO A PUREE.

THEY ADD SPECIAL ENZYMES TO
BREAK UP THE PECTIN MOLECULES,

MAKING THE PUREE LESS VISCOUS
AND THEREFORE EASIER TO PRESS.

THE PRESS PROCESSES ALMOST
9 TONS OF PUREE AT A TIME.

THAT'S THE WEIGHT
OF 1 1/2 ELEPHANTS.

IT TAKES THREE TO FOUR PRESSING
CYCLES TO EXTRACT ALL THE JUICE.

THE JUICE THEN GOES THROUGH A
SOPHISTICATED FILTRATION SYSTEM.

THE 216 FILTERS

REMOVE ANY PLANT PARTICLES OR
BACTERIA LARGER THAN ONE MICRON.

A MICRON IS ABOUT 25,000 TIMES
SMALLER THAN AN INCH.

THEN THEY EVAPORATE THE WATER

UNTIL THE JUICE
IS 10 TIMES MORE CONCENTRATED.

CRANBERRIES NOT DESTINED
FOR JUICE

GO THROUGH A GRADING PROCESS.

UNDERSIZED BERRIES DROP DOWN

THROUGH THE HOLES
OF A GIANT SIFTER.

THE BIGGER CRANBERRIES MOVE ON
TO THE GRADING TABLE,

WHERE WORKERS REMOVE ANY
THAT ARE SUBSTANDARD.

AN ELECTRONIC SORTER

THEN SCANS THE REMAINING
CRANBERRIES FOR COLOR,

SIGNALING AN AIR GUN

TO BLOW ANY REJECT BERRIES
OFF THE PRODUCTION LINE.

THE REST MOVE ON
TO THE PACKAGING DEPARTMENT

OR CONTINUE DOWN THE LINE
TO BE DRIED.

CRANBERRIES DESTINED FOR DRYING

ARE AUTOMATICALLY SEEDED,
CUT IN HALF, AND PRESSED,

THEN SOAKED IN A SUGAR-AND-WATER
SOLUTION TO MAKE THEM SWEETER.

THE SIDE-TO-SIDE MOTION
OF THE CONVEYOR BELT

SPREADS THE BERRIES THINLY
SO THAT THEY'LL DRY EVENLY.

THE HOT-AIR DRYER SUBJECTS THEM

TO TEMPERATURES VARYING FROM
86 TO 176 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.

AFTER ABOUT THREE HOURS,

THE CRANBERRIES COME OUT
LOOKING LIKE THIS.

AS YOU SIP YOUR CRANBERRY TEA,
PONDER THIS --

CRANBERRIES ARE A SOURCE
OF POTASSIUM

AND VITAMINS "A" AND "C,"

AND DRINKING CRANBERRY JUICE

CAN PREVENT AND TREAT
URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS.

Narrator: TWISTING PLANT
OR ANIMAL FIBERS INTO YARN

DATES BACK TO ANCIENT TIMES,

WHEN PEOPLE FASHIONED PRIMITIVE
SPINDLES OUT OF STICKS.

AROUND 500 B.C.,

THE SPINNING WHEEL WAS BORN
IN INDIA.

TODAY'S FACTORIES HAVE FULLY
AUTOMATED SPINNING MACHINES

THAT WORK ON THE SAME PRINCIPLE
AS THE SPINNING WHEEL.

THIS IS A 2-PLY COMMERCIAL YARN,

THE KIND FACTORIES USE
TO WEAVE FABRIC

FOR MAKING JEANS AND TOPS.

IT'S MADE FROM LARGE BALES
OF RAW COTTON.

COTTON COMES FROM A PLANT,

SO, NATURALLY,
SOME LEAVES AND STEMS

ARE MIXED IN
WITH THE COTTON FIBERS.

TO REMOVE THEM, THE FIRST
MACHINE PASSES OVER THE BALES

AND REMOVES A LAYER OF COTTON
.2 OF AN INCH WIDE...

...THEN SENDS IT
THROUGH A DUCT SYSTEM

TO THE BLENDING
AND CLEANING MACHINE.

THE MACHINE PROCESSES
HALF A TON OF COTTON PER HOUR.

THE COTTON COMES OUT
EVENLY BLENDED AND CLEANER,

BUT STILL NOT CLEAN ENOUGH,

SO IT GOES INTO
A SECOND CLEANING MACHINE,

WHICH FINISHES THE JOB.

NOW THE COTTON GOES THROUGH
WHAT'S CALLED A CARDING MACHINE.

IT HAS HUGE ROLLERS
WITH WIRE TEETH.

THEY COMB OUT THE TANGLED FIBERS

AND LINE THEM UP
IN PARALLEL ROWS.

THE MACHINE ALSO DISCARDS

ANY FIBERS THAT ARE TOO SHORT
TO PROCESS.

NEXT STOP -- THE COILER.

THIS DEVICE
TAKES THE ROWS OF FIBERS

AND FORMS THEM INTO A THICK
AND LOOSE FIRST-STAGE YARN

CALLED SLIVER.

THE SLIVERS MOVE ON
TO THE DRAWING MACHINE.

IT LINES THEM UP SIX AT A TIME
AND DRAWS THEM OUT,

STRETCHING THEM TO FORM
A SECOND-STAGE YARN.

THEN A MACHINE
CALLED A ROVING FRAME

STRETCHES
THIS SECOND-STAGE YARN,

STRENGTHENING IT
BY THINNING IT OUT...

...UNTIL IT LOOKS LIKE THIS.

THIS THIRD-STAGE YARN
IS CALLED ROVING.

DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF YARN
THEY'RE MAKING,

IT'S ANYWHERE FROM 3 1/2
TO 16 TIMES THINNER THAN SLIVER.

THEY NOW STRETCH THE ROVING
UP TO 30 TIMES THINNER,

WHICH STRENGTHENS IT EVEN MORE.

THE YARN IS FINALLY FINISHED.

NOW THEY HAVE TO TRANSFER THE
YARN FROM ALL THESE SMALL SPOOLS

ONTO HUGE, INDUSTRIAL-SIZE
CONES -- 20 SPOOLS TO A CONE.

ONE TRANSFER METHOD
USES THE WINDING MACHINE.

IT WINDS THE YARN FROM
THE FIRST SPOOL ONTO THE CONE.

THEN IT AUTOMATICALLY TAKES
THE BACK END OF THAT YARN

AND ATTACHES IT WITH A KNOT

TO THE FRONT END OF THE YARN
FROM THE NEXT SPOOL.

IT WINDS IT ONTO THE CONE,
THEN ATTACHES THE BACK END

TO THE FRONT END
FROM THE NEXT SPOOL AND SO ON.

AS EACH SPOOL EMPTIES,

THE MACHINE AUTOMATICALLY
DISCARDS IT.

AND WHILE ALL THAT WINDING
IS GOING ON,

THE MACHINE'S OPTICAL SENSOR --

THAT WHITE OBJECT YOU SEE
CROSSING THE SCREEN --

DOES A QUALITY-CONTROL CHECK.

IF A PORTION OF YARN
DOESN'T MEET SPECIFICATIONS,

THE WINDING STOPS, THE MACHINE
CUTS OFF THE OFFENDING PORTION,

THEN RECONNECTS THE ENDS
AND RESUMES WINDING.

THIS IS AIR-JET SPINNING,

ANOTHER METHOD
OF MAKING YARN FROM SLIVERS

AND WINDING IT ONTO GIANT SPOOLS
KNOWN AS TUBES.

A SUCTION TUBE
GRABS THE FRONT END OF ONE SPOOL

AND CONNECTS IT TO THE BACK END
OF THE PREVIOUS ONE,

AGAIN WITH A TINY KNOT.

BEFORE FULLY AUTOMATED MACHINES
LIKE THIS

WERE INVENTED 50 YEARS AGO,

ALL THAT KNOTTING
HAD TO BE DONE BY HAND.

THE THIN, FINISHED YARN

IS 200 TIMES LIGHTER
THAN THE THICK, FIRST-STAGE YARN

THAT CAME OUT
OF THE CARDING MACHINE.

FROM START TO FINISH, SPINNING
THIS YARN HAS TAKEN 48 HOURS.

Narrator:
YOU MIGHT NOT HAVE NOTICED,

BUT ROAD SIGNS HAVE UNDERGONE
A SUBTLE CHANGE IN RECENT YEARS

THANKS TO ADVANCES
IN TECHNOLOGY.

TODAY'S SIGNS
ARE MORE REFLECTIVE THAN EVER.

YOU CAN ACTUALLY READ THEM
IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT,

EVEN WHEN THE ONLY SOURCE
OF ILLUMINATION

IS YOUR CAR'S HEADLIGHTS.

THE EARLIEST ROAD SIGNS
WERE CRUDE --

A STICK IN THE GROUND

OR A HEAP OF STONES
TO MARK A ROUTE.

IN THE ROMAN EMPIRE,

STONE POSTS WERE ERECTED ALONG
ROADSIDES AT REGULAR INTERVALS,

INDICATING THE DISTANCE TO ROME.

CENTURIES LATER,

STONE-MARKER SYSTEMS GAVE WAY
TO WOODEN CROSS SIGNS

POINTING IN SEVERAL DIRECTIONS
AT ONCE.

THE INTERNATIONAL SYSTEM
OF ROAD SIGNS WE KNOW TODAY

CAME OUT OF THE FIRST
INTERNATIONAL ROAD CONGRESS,

HELD IN 1908.

THE PROCESS
OF MANUFACTURING A ROAD SIGN

STARTS WITH A COMPUTER.

THE GOVERNMENT
STRICTLY REGULATES

THE SPECIFICS OF THE DESIGN

AND REQUIRES A CERTAIN DEGREE
OF REFLECTIVITY.

THE COMPUTER'S SPECIALIZED
SOFTWARE GUIDES A MACHINE

TO CUT THE DESIGN
ON A SHEET OF FILM.

ONCE THE DESIGN IS CUT,

WORKERS CAREFULLY PEEL OFF
AND DISCARD THE PIECES.

WHAT'S LEFT IS A FILM STENCIL
OF THE SIGN --

IN THIS CASE,
A FRENCH STOP SIGN.

THEY INSPECT IT FOR DEFECTS,

THEN PREPARE A SCREEN
OF POLYESTER FABRIC

THAT THEY'LL LATER USE
TO PRINT THE SIGN.

THEY START BY COATING IT

WITH A THIN LAYER
OF LIGHT-SENSITIVE EMULSION.

ONCE THE EMULSION IS DRY,
THEY ADHERE THE FILM STENCIL

USING VACUUM PRESSURE
TO FLATTEN IT

AND GET RID OF ANY CREASES
OR AIR BUBBLES.

THEN THEY EXPOSE THE SCREEN
TO AN INTENSE, 6,000-WATT LIGHT

FOR SEVEN MINUTES.

THIS ACTIVATES THE EMULSION

ON THE LETTERING AND AREA
OUTSIDE THE OCTAGON --

WHAT'S NOT SHIELDED FROM
THE LIGHT BY THE FILM STENCIL.

THIS EXPOSED EMULSION HARDENS,

PLUGGING THE MINUTE HOLES
BETWEEN THE SCREEN'S FIBERS.

AFTER RINSING,
YOU SEE THE RESULT.

ELSEWHERE IN THE FACTORY,
WORKERS CUT THE ALUMINUM PANELS

ON WHICH THE SIGNS
WILL BE PRINTED.

USING A PUNCH PRESS,
THEY ROUND OUT THE EDGES.

THEY MAKE HOLES FOR THE BOLTS

THAT WILL LATER
ATTACH THE SIGN TO THE POST.

THEY STAMP ON THE COMPANY NAME
AND THE YEAR OF MANUFACTURE

FOR WARRANTY PURPOSES.

THEY IMMERSE THE PANELS
IN A CHEMICAL BATH

TO REMOVE GREASE
AND OTHER RESIDUES.

THEN THEY RINSE OFF THE PANELS

AND DIP THEM IN AN ACID SOLUTION
THAT SEALS THE METAL

TO MAKE IT BETTER WITHSTAND
HARSH WEATHER.

NEXT, THEY LAMINATE
THE ALUMINUM PANELS

WITH A FILM CONTAINING
MINISCULE GLASS PARTICLES.

THIS FILM WILL MAKE THE SIGN
REFLECT IN THE DARK

WHEN LIGHT HITS IT.

THEN THEY CUT THE PANEL
TO THE FINAL SHAPE.

NOW THEY CAN FINALLY
PRINT THE SIGN.

THE PROCESS THEY USE
IS CALLED SILK-SCREENING,

ALTHOUGH THE FABRIC SCREEN,
AS YOU SAW EARLIER,

ISN'T ACTUALLY SILK.

IT'S POLYESTER.

THE MACHINE FORCES THE INK
DOWN THROUGH THE SCREEN

ONTO THE PANEL.

THE INK PENETRATES THROUGH THE
OPEN FIBER HOLES OF THE OCTAGON,

PRINTING THE RED BACKGROUND
ON THE STOP SIGN.

BUT IT CAN'T PENETRATE
THROUGH THE BLOCKED FIBER HOLES

OF THE LETTERING AND THE AREA
OUTSIDE THE OCTAGON,

SO THOSE REMAIN WHITE.

THE FRESHLY PRINTED SIGNS
PASS THROUGH A DRYER

AT ABOUT 150 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT
FOR 5 MINUTES.

TO PRODUCE STREET SIGNS,

WORKERS FIRST LAMINATE
ALUMINUM PANELS

WITH REFLECTIVE FILM
FOR THE BACKGROUND COLOR...

...THEN EITHER SILK-SCREEN
THE STREET NAME

OR APPLY SELF-ADHESIVE
REFLECTIVE LETTERING.

BUT IT'S BACK TO
THE SILK-SCREENING PROCESS

FOR PRINTING MULTICOLORED SIGNS.

WORKERS PRINT THEM
ONE COLOR AT A TIME

WITH A DRYING CYCLE
BETWEEN COLORS.

ALL THE FILM STENCILS ARE
CAREFULLY STORED FOR FUTURE USE.

THE PRINTED SIGNS GO INTO
AN OVEN FOR A FINAL CURING

AT 349 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT --

AN HOUR FOR A ONE-COLOR SIGN,

A HALF-HOUR PER COLOR
FOR A MULTICOLORED SIGN.

THE INK IS TRANSPARENT ENOUGH

NOT TO BLOCK THE REFLECTIVE FILM
UNDERNEATH.

THEREFORE, THE ENTIRE SIGN,
NOT JUST THE LETTERING,

IS HIGHLY REFLECTIVE.

THAT MAXIMIZES
THE SIGN'S VISIBILITY,

THEREBY MINIMIZING THE EXCUSES
DRIVERS CAN COME UP WITH

FOR NOT HEEDING IT.

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