Writing blogs is good. You get to put into words, and share, those numerous thoughts and emotions that would otherwise just pass and be lost somewhere where you can never find them again. I realize I haven’t found time to post in the last few days (if you want to know the reason, refer to the previous post!) However, it is really important for me to write this today. This post is dedicated to Koptike and Ferngren. The two men I can never thank enough. The two men I consider among the most intelligent in the world. The two men who made this post and many more things possible.
The annual overhaul is finally through! It is one event I think every individual must witness at least once in his lifetime. It is overwhelming how an entire manufacturing line can be stripped off all nuts and bolts that make it stand, and be put back – into the same design, to perform the same function, but to achieve better efficiency. (In life, as and when we face adverse situations, we undergo a similar overhaul. We get ruined. We give up – we give in. All that ever made us stand seems broken and strewn. It is then that we get to see what we are really made of. )
Walking through the bay, watching the newly assembled shining line, I realised how different manufacturing was from biotechnology.
“Wow! Am I really made of these minuscule balls of cells?” My first look at the microscopic image of MY OWN red blood cells had left me confused... Obviously! Something that looked so big in front of the mirror just a few hours ago was looking totally deceptive under a microscope. (In life, a LOT depends on how you look at yourself.) “Yas amma. That is yo-vur bloodd amma. Come on now, doesn’t waste others’ time. Test yo-vur bloodd group and complete the juurrnal.” Phew! I had studied in South India for over five years by then. However, being a core Bambaiyah, I found the formidable engineering subjects easier to understand! ;) Ignoring the discomfort of not being able to relate to her accent, I continued staring into the glass piece. The extreme complexity of being suddenly looked simple and clear. (Life is as simple as “simple” gets. But we don’t like simple things. We like it if it’s complicated. And if it’s not, we have this incredible ability to complicate it.)
The magnified image of floating RBCs gave me a clear picture of the “biology of life”. That was the science I was exposed to all this time. And the version of science I saw now was completely different. Where biology is all about cells, tissues and muscles; manufacturing is all about fierce bearings, strong gears, unforgiving boilers and greedy compressors. The striking difference between the two versions of science made me conscious of the vast horizon of knowledge. I feel lucky to be able to explore such a wide spectrum of science.
Talking about machines, this post is (read ‘was supposed to be’ –obviously I’ve strayed) about my favorite giant. It’s called the Blow Molding Machine. When I saw it for the first time about a year ago, my mind couldn’t register the quick movements of the plastic bottles. They never went in. They were just coming out. The bottles were being manufactured then and there! It took me three hours to understand the entire process in depth. I tried recollecting the glass blowing mechanism taught during my second grade at school. The Syrians learnt to append a glowing ball of glass to a hollow tube, and blow through the tube to make hollow structures of different shapes. This was the basic principle underlying this beast-like machine. Polyethylene, much known as plastic or PET, holds the character of being able to mold into any given shape if heated to the right temperature. (Human beings have a similar character, the heat being motivation. If we are motivated enough, and if we see enough benefits, most of us would get molded into anything, by anyone. However, the irony is that not all of us become beautiful bottles from shapeless blobs)
The speed and efficiency of the machine is beyond explanation in real words. One has to see it to believe it. It stretches and blows polyethylene into the desired shape less than a minute before the product – be it cream, paint, or beverage, is poured into the (then) bottle. The entire process of converting a parison into a container takes less than 5 seconds! The machine is swift and unrelenting. It is accommodating as well. One can change the molds in less than 10 minutes, and the shape of the container being manufactured changes. (In life, situations desire us to adjust our sails often. We MUST, and I say this with experience, we MUST accept change and also learn to enjoy it.)
But how does this machine become a topic to be written about? Well, for me, there are many personified qualities to adopt from the Blow Molding Machine: a defined and clear goal in mind, unconditional commitment to achieve that goal, effort and hard work with high efficiency, alacrity, balanced and constant speed, relentless struggle and most importantly- an adjusting attitude.
What the machine IS, talks volumes about how great the human mind is. Such inventions are live examples of motivated minds that created, built and developed extraordinary results. This is thus; to the inventors of the star performer I’m most fond of – to Mr Koptike and Mr Ferngren.