Modern technology is truly a marvel to behold. We all take the innovations of our current society for granted, even as we benefit immensely from safe cars, useful smartphones, life-saving medical technology, stable roads and bridges, and everyday appliances.
Too few of us actually stop to think about the immense amount of work and money that goes into sustaining our modern world, one that would not be possible without the might of America’s $7 trillion a year manufacturing industry.
American manufacturing employs millions of people and produces the products that make modern living possible. But how are these actually made? Read on the find out the main manufacturing processes that build the world we live in.
1. Job Shop Manufacturing Processes
This is a process that the best manufacturer boutique companies tend to use, as it is the best approach for producing one-of-a-kind, bespoke items. Instead of using an assembly line, job shop manufacturing uses various workstations around the shop, where an individual manufacturer can work on a specific product from start to finish. This is manufacturing that produces high-value, made-to-order items in industries such as medicine or apparel.
2. Repetitive Manufacturing Processes
As the name suggests, repetitive manufacturing is a form of rapid prototyping that consists of various isolated processes being repeated endlessly to form finished products. There will typically be several different production lines producing the same item, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The manufacturing industry likes this process because it allows for operation speeds to be increased or decreased according to market demand for the product.
3. Discrete Manufacturing Processes
This is one of those types of manufacturing that also makes use of assembly lines. However, it differs from repetitive manufacturing in that there will be a very diverse range of setups and frequent changes in the assembly line, according to product development needs. This process is often used to manufacture products that can be taken apart and re-used, such as furniture, cars, and smartphones.
4. Continuous Manufacturing Processes
This is another form of manufacturing that runs on a constant, 24/7 basis. However, this type of manufacturing looks very different, as it is used exclusively in the refinement and production of raw minerals and their products. Examples include metal smelting, paper production, and chemical refinement. This is also a hazardous form of manufacturing that requires expert and highly standardized manufacturing safety training.
5. Batch Process Manufacturing
This is a type of manufacturing that more closely resembles job shop manufacturing, in that the process is more isolated and is not continuous. It is, however, on a much larger scale than most job shop processes. As the name suggests, batch process production involves creating products in clearly defined batches, sending one out before beginning the next. This way, you can clean and prep the machinery in between batches and also adjust the process for the next batch according to the needs of the market.
Understand the Technology That Powers the World
Now that you know the main manufacturing processes that produce pretty much everything that you use in everyday life, it is time to go one step further. For more straightforward, practical information on the technology that powers the world, you have come to the right place. Make sure to consult our dedicated Tech explainers to learn more.