Megafactories: Swiss Army Knife - Teachers Notes

Video highlights from Megafactories

Upper Primary and Junior Secondary



Swiss Army Knife


Upper Primary and Junior Secondary



Used by everyone from boy scouts to presidents, the Swiss Army Knife may be the most ingenious multipurpose tool ever invented, with an equally ingenious process for its production. Step inside the iconic Victorinox megafactory – a 36,000 square metre powerhouse of  innovation – to see how the world's biggest pocketknife manufacturer operates. There are 450 steps involved in producing a Swiss Army knife, along with a passion for perfection and exacting standards. Invented for Swiss soldiers in the late 1800s,  the original knife was a technological breakthrough boasting a total of four tools: a blade, punch, screwdriver and can opener. Four generations later and the century old family business continues to thrive, with outlets in more than 130 countries selling a range of 260 different models.


Swiss Army Knives are one of a dwindling number of product brands on the market that come with a lifetime guarantee. Under the Swiss Army name, buyers expect – and receive – top quality and functionality. This programme shows how the single Victorinox megafactory in Ibach, Switzerland, operates, and the logistics of producing  more than 60,000 knives each day with a 1,00 strong workforce.

In addition to following the creation of a Victorinox blade from beginning to end, Megafactory: Swiss Army Knives traces the history of this family-owned business through numerous trials and tribulations to the present day. We see each step of the blade production process, and gain a solid insight into the exacting precision and attention to detail with which each blade is made.

The famous Victorinox logo – a cross inside a shield – dates back to 1909 and was originated to thwart counterfeiters who tried to imitate the Swiss Army Knife. Every product that leaves the factory has this logo as a stamp of authenticity. Nevertheless, piracy continues to be a big problem that affects more than the company's bottom line, particularly for a company that prides itself on Swiss workmanship.

As well as including a brain-storming session in which company managers exchange ideas about new products, the programme also showcases the Victorinox Museum, which houses every model of Swiss Army Knife ever made – 350 in all, including prototypes that didn't hit the mark.

Only a handful of companies can boast of thriving for more than 100 years, here's a chance to find out what's required.


Upper Primary Curriculum

Technologies challenge us to learn to adapt to new developments and critically examine how they transform and influence our ideas, opportunities and actions. Technologies, in both their development and use, are influenced by and can play a role in transforming society and our natural, constructed and virtual environments. We create, as well as respond to, the designed world in which we live.
 Australian Technologies K-10 Curriculum 2012: Introduction

Junior Secondary Curriculum

People design and use technologies to shape the world in which we live. Technologies increasingly enrich and impact on the lives of people, culture and society globally. It is important that, as a nation, we make connections between technologies, creativity and enterprise as a catalyst for 21st century innovation. We will increasingly depend upon contemporary or emerging technologies, for agriculture, communication, construction, energy and water management, knowledge creation, manufacture, and transportation.
 Australian Technologies K-10 Curriculum 2012: Introduction


Upper Primary
In undertaking these tasks, students of Technology will develop:

• develop the capacity to be confident, creative, ethical, enterprising, environmentally and socially responsible innovators.
•  practical application of design and computational thinking and traditional, contemporary and emerging technologies to produce effective solutions within personal, family, community and global settings that are meaningful and culturally authentic to those settings.
Australian Technologies K-10 Curriculum 2012: Aims


Junior Secondary
taking these tasks, students of Technology will:
• critique, evaluate and apply thinking skills and technologies processes that people use to shape their world, and to transfer that learning to other technology situations
• engage confidently with and make informed, ethical decisions about technologies for personal wellbeing, recreation, everyday life, the world of work and preferred futures.
Australian Technologies K-10 Curriculum 2012: Aims

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