The safe. These timeless machines are some of the toughest around. How do 21st century safes keep thieves out and even protect your valuable from a raging house fire?
More than 500 super strong parts work together. The outer shell is a sandwich of ultra-tough steel and slabs of ground up rock fireproofed to 1,200 degrees. 26 hardened steel bolts clamp the door deep into the sidewalls and a lock with 1.2 million possible combinations gives easy access if you know the code.
The secret to what makes the safe so strong is the way engineers make its steel skin.
In this 300,000 square foot Utah factory the safes begin life as 9 ton rolls of coiled up steel. It’s 5 times thicker than the steel used on car body work, and incredibly tough. Workers must wrestle this super strong steel into a precision formed box. It’s a mighty engineering challenge.
“So this is the punch station. This cuts all of our holes and our corners out.”
Thomas runs the line that turns thick steel plate into a precision made box. In his line of work, speed is key.
“This is the first part of the line, the whole system. Even with me having to stop for 10 minutes it can cost the line 20-30 minutes down the road.”
A huge hydraulic press stamps the sheet of metal into a carefully designed pattern. A giant roller turns up the edges for added strength before a robot folds the whole thing into a box.
Thomas then welds the corners tight.
“The only seam we have is on the one side, here. You don’t have a bunch of seams all over the place that can fail. This is going to be stronger then even having a weld on it because its connected as one piece.
Workers grind off the excess metal from welding. This leaves a super tough shell that’s incredibly hard to break into.