What Is Assembly Line Manufacturing?
In 1913, Henry Ford introduced the assembly line into the automobile industry. Although Ford did not invent the automobile, he did develop the assembly line to produce an affordable mass-produced car. Today, assembly line manufacturing is a widely used process in many industries, from electronics to construction. However, before the assembly line became a popular way to manufacture cars, it was vital that companies ensured that their workers were paid well. It is also important to note that assembly lines have undergone significant changes since the invention of the automobile by Henry Ford.
Mechanization of the assembly line
The mechanization of assembly line manufacturing began in the early twentieth century. The process of creating a car on an assembly line involves the assembly of a series of parts and then passing the completed product on to the next station. The assembly line began with a bare chassis and progressively added parts. The growing assemblage progresses along a conveyor line. Workers perform specific tasks and the parts are matched into subassemblies. Several feeder lines intersect the main line, delivering exterior and interior parts, engines, and other assemblies. Each worker is assigned a specific task and the process is monitored by a complex control system and scheduling system.
As time went by, the assembly line began to undergo drastic changes. As labor costs rose, so did the number of workers. In order to meet the ever-increasing demand, factories began to speed up their production processes. While workers were unable to match the speed of the machinery, they were forced to keep up with the pace of the assembly line. Eventually, the constant pressure to produce more led to a decline in quality and worker dissatisfaction. In response, industry leaders began to understand the dehumanizing effects of the assembly line.
Cost-effectiveness of assembly line manufacturing
One of the primary reasons for using assembly lines is their efficiency. For instance, Henry Ford cut assembly time from 12 hours to 90 minutes by assembling the 3,000 parts of the Model T in just 84 steps. By keeping track of how many workers left their station, he could ensure that no one was running out of parts or was underperforming. In addition, he could quickly spot employees who were not performing up to their potential by observing how much work piled up on the assembly line.
Another major benefit of assembly lines is cost-effectiveness. As with any other industrial process, assembly lines improve production by using unskilled workers to do specific tasks and produce entire units. This allows manufacturers to increase their profit margins, and reduce waste. In addition, the uniformity of products produced using assembly lines ensures that there is less waste and fewer functional units, and consumers are more likely to trust their purchase.
Changes in assembly line manufacturing since Ford’s invention
Many positive changes have occurred in assembly line manufacturing since Henry Ford’s invention. First, Ford introduced conveyor belts in his assembly lines, which allowed employees to stay in one area and do less of the heavy lifting. By December 1, 1913, Ford had his conveyor belt system up and running in a manufacturing plant in Detroit. Henry Ford wanted to make affordable cars for working families, and had begun working with motion study expert Fredrick Taylor.
The assembly line was invented to serve a growing demand for automobiles, and it became an integral part of the auto industry. Today, assembly lines are a complex industrial ballet of workers and robots building cars. The changing needs of consumers have made it essential to adapt assembly line manufacturing to accommodate them. While the moving assembly line was a great invention for its time, modern assembly lines are unable to keep up with the demand for more advanced and fuel-efficient vehicles. Ford has now adapted the assembly line to build hybrid and electric cars as well as the Focus. The factory now follows computer-driven orders for building cars.
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