DK Science & Technology: Manufacturing
From ankle socks to aircraft, almost everything we use has been manufactured. Manufacturing is the process of making products from materials. It may be done by hand, or by computer-controlled PRODUCTION LINES.
Product development begins with an idea—such as a new design for a running shoe or an electronic game. If the idea is accepted, working samples are made and tested. The samples are shown to the public to get their reaction. If it seems that enough people would buy it, the product is put into production.
A product is mass-produced when identical copies of it are made in vast numbers by machines. Once, all books were copied by hand. The printing press made it possible for books to be printed quickly and easily, so books became cheaper and more widely available.
The son of a farmer, Henry Ford founded the Ford Motor Company in 1903 and introduced production-line methods to car manufacturing. For the first time, cars became generally affordable. The first type of car produced in this way was the Model T. Ford. Ford said his customers could have any color of car, “so long as it was black.”
A production line is a system for mass producing a complicated product efficiently. The idea was first used by Henry Ford as a way of making cars quickly and cheaply, so more people could buy them.
On a production line, every stage in the making of a product is a separate workstation. Workers (or machines) at each station do the same task over and over again as partly made products move along a line from station to station. This means that many more products can be completed each day than if groups of workers made one complete product at a time.
Things can go wrong in a complicated production process. Machines break down, the materials may not be available, or they may be the wrong kind. Such problems can lead to faulty products, which must not be allowed to leave the factory or customers will be disappointed. Quality control makes sure that every finished product is of a sufficiently high standard.