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(BROWNWOOD, Texas) – From the front entrance to the final stop, Texas State Technical College Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology students recently were provided with a better understanding of what they work on in labs as part of their degree requirements.

Ten students, along with their instructors, toured the Kohler Co. plant in Brownwood earlier this month. Students walked through the more than 1 million-square-foot facility that manufactures bathtubs and toilets.

“This is the second time we have had our students tour the facility,” said Tony Montoya, a Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology instructor. “I like for the students to have a firsthand look at the products they will be working on in our labs.”

Students watched as robotic arms and Kohler employees worked together to assemble a toilet, from casting it in a mold to applying the glaze.

The Brownwood facility produces more than 1,000 toilets in five different styles each day in a casting shop that can fit three full-length football fields inside it, company officials said. The spray robot uses 3D imaging to determine how much glaze should be applied.

“I want the students to see the technical aspect of the creation of each product,” Montoya said.

For student Jonathan Gann, of Waco, the tour was an eye-opener.

“I recently broke one of my toilets, and to see the people put one together so quickly gives me a new respect for the product,” he said. “I like the hands-on approach each person is taking to make sure each piece is correct. There is more detail in making a toilet than I imagined.”

Branson Gaylor, of Waco, who is a second-semester student in the program, said the Kohler employees were thorough in each explanation of the process.

“The way things were explained to us was very informative,” he said. “It piqued my interest with some of the things we were able to learn about making these products.”

Among the facts that students were surprised to learn was that the kiln inside the plant is 464 feet long, which is more than 150 feet taller than the Statue of Liberty, and its top temperature is 2,235 degrees Fahrenheit, which is higher than the temperature of lava.

The Brownwood plant ships between 20,000 and 30,000 pieces per week and in 2025 will celebrate its 50th anniversary.

According to, the need for plumbers, pipefitters and steamfitters was forecast to increase 22% between 2020 and 2030. The median annual salary for these positions is $55,800 in Texas, the website stated.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree and certificates of completion in Plumbing and Pipefitting Technology at the Waco campus. Beginning in 2025, the program will be offered at TSTC’s Abilene location.

For more information about TSTC, visit

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