Manufacturing

Basics:

  • There are many different types of manufacturing processes each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

One-Off:

  • Each craftsman focuses solely on the production of one copy of a product thus each product is one of a kind:
    • Each craftsman copies the work of a master craftsman and so the products produced are similar:
      • However, because each is made by different craftsmen they are all unique in their own ways.
  • Advantages:
    • There is variety and a sense of the individual within each product.
    • The products produced are of good quality.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Production is slow and output is low:
      • Thus craftsmen are unlikely to make much money.
    • Parts were not interchangeable:
      • With each product slightly different from the next, parts would not be interchangeable.

Prototype:

  • Prototypes are different from one-off products because they are part of a series that consists of completely standardised products:
    • All the products made after the prototype are exactly the same as the prototype.
  • Advantages:
    • Allows for the exploration of ideas and concepts without having to expend large sums of money.
    • Allowed for the use of an assembly line in the production of one’s product.
  • Disadvantage:
    • Could take time and a lot of effort:
      • James Dyson produced 5000 prototypes of his Cyclone cleaner before going into production.
    • Prototypes are completely useless beyond allowing for ideas to be tested.

Mass Production:

  • The mass production of standardized goods, using dedicated machines and moving assembly lines, employing unskilled and semi-skilled labour in fragmented jobs, with tight labour discipline, in large factories.
  • It is the production of long runs of standardised goods for the mass market.
    • Often through use of an assembly line.
  • Advantages:
    • Massive numbers could be produced allowing for economies of scale.
    • Specialisation of labour could happen to up production.
    • Workers could be paid more because of the high level of production.
    • The entire production process could be mechanised.
    • It is possible to produce a continuous stream of goods:
      • Each good would thus be cheaper.
    • Quality would be the same for each good.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Specialisation has many negative effects on workers.
    • Since the production process could be entirely mechanised, workers may lose their jobs.
    • There may not be enough demand to buy up all the goods you produce:
      • This may be due to changing fashions and trends.
        • This is why batch production is preferred by many producers nowadays.

Batch Production:

  • Most companies cannot sustain mass production:
    • There just usually is not enough demand in the global market because styles and fashions change quickly.
  • Track spikes and football boots:
    • These were once batch produced during the season in which they would be used.
    • They are still batch produced now for a different reason:
      • They are bought all year round but since fashions change so quickly it makes sense to batch produce them.
  • Bicycles:
    1. The tube for the bicycle frame is cut to size. One person will do this job and they cut enough tube for a batch of several hundred bikes in a week.
    2. The tubes are set up in a ‘jig’ which holds the frame together. The frame travels along the production line and the joints are preheated to save time. A gas torch is used to weld the frame together.
    3. After welding the frames and the front forks, the whole thing needs cleaning in the ‘Grit-Blaster’. This shoots tiny particles of sand, at high speed, at the frame and cleans away the ‘residue’ left behind by the welding process.
    4. QUALITY CONTROL:
      • All frames are checked to ensure that they are straight. Small adjustments can be made at this stage.
    5. The frames are now ready for painting. This is done by using a fine spray which covers every part of the frame with paint. The frame then moves down the production line into a special oven which ‘bakes’ the paint giving it a tough finish.
    6. The wheels are assembled by hand and they are individually tested in a machine which automatically tensions each spoke to ensure that they are perfectly straight.
    7. The frames are machined so that other parts such as the handle bars and the bottom bracket (pedals) can be attached. People operate the machine tools but they need some training before they can use the machines safely and efficiently.
    8. The bicycles are now ready for the shops where they will be viewed by customers and agents. Agents will buy ‘batches’ of bicycles for large stores.
    9. Before sending the bicycles to the shops, agents view them and suggest changes for the next batch. This helps the manufacturer improve the design and production of bicycles.
  • Advantages:
    • Allows companies to adapt to changing fashions very quickly.
    • Allows for economies of scale and specialisation.
    • Workers can be paid more because of the higher level of production.
    • The entire process could be mechanised.
    • Goods produced are cheap.
    • Quality for each good would be the same.
    • There will always be demand for your good.
  • Disadvantages:
    • Specialisation causes disadvantages.
    • Since the production may be entirely mechanised, workers may end up losing their jobs.
    • Time and money must be spent observing changes in fashions and trends and then figuring out how to adapt production accordingly.
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