The workforce is an all-volunteer workforce. Many are retired people who want to do something socially useful. Most are from the DeMotte and Wheatfield area with some commuting from Lake and Porter Counties. Each volunteer is assigned to a particular area, such as the wood shop, the paint shop, or the metal working shop. Seeing how the work was organized reminded me of the CDC Resources workshop, which breaks jobs down into simple steps.
Part of each PET is made of wood. Most of the wood is bought locally at cost and cut. There is no measuring in the production process. Everything is done with templates. In the picture below you can see some of the sizes that are used. the gray boards are the templates. They are placed on the table and the uncut board is butted up against it. Then a cut is made with a radial arm saw giving the exact size needed. To make a different piece, a different template is used.
Pieces in various states of assembly are shown below along with one finished piece that has been painted, another task that has its own special crew.
The boxed PETs will be put into a container and the container will travel to Africa on a ship. Also included in the container are various other things, such as crutches and walkers. There is a mattress and a recliner on the pile. One of the volunteers in Swaziland has decided to stay there and so some comforts of home were being shipped to her. The PETs in the foreground need to be disassembled and packed.
The DeMotte factory produces six vehicles a week. Most of the volunteer work is done three mornings per week. The facility could easily produce double that production, but the cost of materials is about $250 per vehicle and it is that cost that limits production. Because the vehicles are given away, the cost must be covered by donations. If you or a group of people would like to make life better from someone whom you will never meet, consider donating.
The main PET website is here. The DeMotte website is here. Both have videos. The second video on the DeMotte website shows production in the DeMotte workshop at the end of the video and the person who took the time to give us a wonderful tour is in that video, working in the metal area.
Before we returned to Rensselaer, we stopped by a very different wood working business in the DeMotte area. The owner makes very intricate and detailed wooden models of vehicles. I did not take any pictures but you can see what he produces from his website, which gets many more hits a day than this blog or any other website I maintain.