Celebrating National Manufacturing Month:
Inside the manufacturing lines at Polaris
A snowmobile is built in two hours – and with it, there’s sound. The whirr of a machine, then an instant of quiet as the part begins its journey through the assembly line. Skilled technicians work in cadence as the vehicle moves down the assembly line. The stops, the starts – each pause signifies careful inspection from watchful eyes, attention to detail at every turn. The fastening of bolts, laser cuts, air hoses, robotic arms, paint sprayers, riveters – singular motions that come together in a symphony of sound so unmistakably identifiable as that of something being built. Headlights flash. An engine revs. The inspection, complete. As the snowmobile rolls off the assembly line, 120 minutes have passed, and yet the sound behind it remains, the line carries on.
Inside the Polaris manufacturing plant in Roseau, Minnesota, nearly 1,500 employees build snowmobiles, ATVs, and MRZR vehicles. And they’ve done so since 1954 when founders Edgar and Allan Hetteen and David Johnson pieced together the first Polaris snowmobile from parts in their machine shop. The sound of craftsmanship and quality reverberate through the decades, joined now by automated machines, robotics, and new technologies. But what echoes through the Roseau plant – and in each of the 12 other Polaris plants across the country – is the history of manufacturing as it combines new technologies with the legacy of workmanship and quality that’s carried on in each employee that helps to build a Polaris vehicle.
“There’s an energy about it,” explains Nathan Hanson, Roseau’s director of operations. “ The lights, the sounds, the machines, the activity – how it all blends together, it’s really something special.” Hanson celebrated 20 years with Polaris in August, most of it spent in manufacturing in Roseau but also in Spirit Lake, Iowa, home to Indian Motorcycle. He took a turn with the PG&A team in Ohio to learn, as he calls it, the other side of the industry, but the pull of the plant brought him back to Roseau. “ There’s just nothing like it,” he says of the hum of a manufacturing facility running at full steam.
He’ll stop sometimes in the middle of the plant to simply take in what’s going on around him. “I look around and watch the lines run. I listen.” He does this, he says, because it allows him a moment to step back, to see everyone in unison, working together in the maze of equipment, lifts, automated carts, parts, and people. And that expansive view, filled with sound and a frenetic pace, reveals the heartbeat of manufacturing.
October is National Manufacturing Month
National Manufacturing Day (MFG Day) is Friday, October 2. Held annually on the first Friday of October, MFG Day is a flagship initiative of the Manufacturing Institute, which serves as the workforce development and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Polaris recently completed a 3-D mapping video tour of its flagship plant in Roseau, done in partnership with NAM, that will serve as virtual educational tool for those interested in manufacturing.
Throughout October, recognized as National Manufacturing Month, Polaris is highlighting the industry and its growth, promoting manufacturing jobs, and sharing the story of its dedicated team of employees. As an official sponsor of MFG Day, Polaris joins thousands of companies and educational institutions around the nation celebrating and showcasing modern manufacturing and career opportunities made possible by the manufacturing industry.
For more information
Take a virtual 3D tour a look inside Polaris’ Roseau manufacturing facility and follow Polaris.com and our social media channels throughout October as we highlight our plants and our people.
Visit Polaris.com/proud for more information on our footprint.