Visit us for a yurt tour! Just south of Downtown Seattle, about a 25 minute drive from Pike Place Market, you will find the impressive manufacturing plant that is home to Rainier Industries – parent company of Rainier Yurts.
Throughout the year, we have folks drive or fly in from all over the world for a yurt tour and to tour our 144,000 square foot facility. Every one of them is surprised by the size of the building when they pull up and how fascinating the hour long tour is! (If you are flying – we are an 11 minute drive from Sea-Tac Airport and Dana would be happy to pick you up!)
Once greeted by one of our friendly staff, you will sign-in and be assigned a visitor’s badge and safety glasses. As you go through the giant double doors to the production floor, you will be amazed at the large space and organized workflow. First, we’ll visit the Fabric Department and witness the twin Cutting Edge machines.
These impressive machines are 60 feet long by 6 feet wide and are vacuum based to hold the material in place. Using a large computer driven “arm”, they operate on an X/Y coordinate from stored CAD files to cut the various components of the yurt roof, wall, insulation and liner. We use this precision cutting technique to alleviate any human error and to ensure 100% accuracy in fit and function when you go to install in your remote location.
Next we stop at the RF welding Department. Radio Frequency Welding is the process by which electro magnetic energy is used to permanently bond vinyl materials together. The Radio Frequency Welding (also referred to as “RF welding”, “dielectric sealing”, “high frequency” welding, or “heat sealing”) process uses radio frequency energy to produce molecular agitation in the roof and side wall vinyl such that they melt and flow together, forming a bond that is as strong as the original materials. This eliminates the need for stitching in these vulnerable areas where you would not want stitching that could leak or eventually rot.
Then we pass by where the technicians are sewing the interior liner to the insulation, making the soft windows, and completing your custom fabric order based on the colors you selected and the window size and location you have chosen. These components go through a Quality Control check and will then be carted down to the Wood Shop where they will meet up with the wood components and go through another QC check prior to being crated. All Work Orders are electronic and have bar codes which are scanned to make sure that each yurt is receiving the right size, color, and components.
We make several other unique products at Rainier Industries (www.rainier.com) and as you pass through the main portion of the factory floor you will see projects for Starbucks, Boeing, Nordstrom, REI, Eddie Bauer, and many well-known sports stadiums from around the country. That is because we have the technology to print digitally on vinyl. We make tents, banners, signage and trade show booths – all using the same machines and technology that we perfected making yurts. In fact – we’ve been in business for over 120 years – we started making tents for the Yukon Gold Rush in 1896!
A quick right and we end up in the Wood Shop…time to put on our safety glasses! Your nose will enjoy the aroma of freshly cut and sanded wood. We watch the powerful twin set of CNC Routers (Computer Numerical Control machines) which are automatic milling and cutting machines that make precision cut components (like the Eagle Blocks) in wood. Modern CNC machines can work for hours without direct human assistance. Again – we are looking for precision!
Next run your hand along the smoothly sanded, perfectly round, ring that is the heart at the top of every yurt! See and touch the perfect joinery and craftsmanship in the 60″ French doors being made with curve in the sill and header to match the circumference of the yurt.
Watch the one-of-a-kind lattice machine perfectly cut and drill sections of lattice in minutes. Witness the massive crates being built and delicately packed with all the essential yurt components. Beep! Beep! here comes the forklift to take the crates to the shipping department.
A quick stop into the Metal Shop to see the Flow Waterjet Station. Using 87,000 psi of water pressure – we can cut through inches thick metal with absolute precision! This amazing machine brings the versatility to cut any metal material to any shape with zero errors or mishaps. Again – there’s that word…precision!
From here the various parts including the ring-rafter bracket and door tangs head over to get powder coated at our in-house Powder Coating facility. The coating is applied electrostatically and is then cured under extreme heat to allow it to form a “skin”. The powder is used to create a hard finish that is tougher than conventional paint. Powder coating is best known for coating of metals to produce items such as household appliances, aluminum extrusions, automobile and bicycle parts. Best of all, the coating process emits few Volitile Organic Compounds (VOCs) compared to paint! A plus for the environment!
You may stay as long as you need or want. Perhaps your questions will lead you to play with the price calculator on our website or look at floor plans with one of our experts.
When you come back to the lobby to sign out and return your badge and glasses, you will notice your information packet waiting for you. It is not unusual to see hugs exchanged instead of handshakes – as you part with yurt dreams of your own.
Contact Dana to schedule a Rainier Yurt Tour! Call us toll-free (800)869-7162 or my direct line (425)981-1203. We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm and Saturdays by appointment.
We look forward to giving you a personally guided tour!