Being one of the world’s most popular toys for 90 years now, it’s no surprise that there have been many attempts to recreate LEGO’s iconic blocks. I mean, it can’t be that hard, can it?
But something about the Denmark-made blocks feels different from its competition and knock-offs. The materials are sturdier, the shapes more consistent. This makes itself evident when you fit a modern LEGO block with one made years ago with no difficulty whatsoever. These pieces were made to work together, no matter when or where they were made.
This old LEGO production video by The LEGO Group shows how tons of plastic granulate are shaped into the LEGO bits and pieces you know and love. Different types of granulate make different parts, but all of it goes through a series of pipes into the molding area.
It is here where the plastic granulate gets mixed with their respective dyes and melted into a fine paste. This paste is pressurized to as high as 29,000 psi and fed into a mold, where it becomes the LEGO piece it was born to be. The plastic granulate residue is ground and recycled before reusing it to make new LEGO pieces.
While machines take care of the production, a human element takes care of the machines. Molds are created, cleaned, and maintained to ensure that each piece manufactured will work with any LEGO piece made in the past, present, or future. Each mold also comes with its own set of instructions, including the amount of pressure, time, and temperature needed to create the pieces specific to it.
Sample pieces made from the new molds are sent to the quality assurance department, where they are rigorously inspected. The molds are sent into the production line to create thousands more LEGO pieces if they make the cut.
Back on the production line, finished LEGO pieces are boxed before being picked up by automated machines. These machines bring the boxes to a series of conveyor belts, where they are sorted and stored in a warehouse.
LEGO minifigs go through a unique production line where each part is molded and painted to a specific model. It’s an even more complex production process, one we’ve covered in the past.
When LEGO pieces are needed, the boxes are removed from storage. They are emptied onto a row of counting machines which sort them properly into plastic bags to prepare them for packaging.
Funnily enough, one of the final processes in packaging involves a production line of workers. People place the plastic bags containing LEGO pieces into boxes, along with the instruction manual and any other paraphernalia. Finally, the boxes are labeled and set out into the world, where people like you and me can buy them and start building our own creative adventures.
While not as eye-opening as one might think, the main takeaway from this video is how much care and attention The LEGO Group puts into its molds. These are the heart and soul of the production line, and have been a closely guarded secret for as long as the company has been around. Add some good quality assurance and control and it’s no wonder The LEGO Group is the best at what they do!