Assembly line

An assembly line is a manufacturing process (often called a progressive assembly) in which parts (usually interchangeable parts) are added as the semi-finished assembly moves from workstation to workstation where the parts are added in sequence until the final assembly is produced. By mechanically moving the parts to the assembly work and moving the semi-finished assembly from work station to work station, a finished product can be assembled faster and with less labor than by having workers carry parts to a stationary piece for assembly.

Assembly lines are common methods of assembling complex items such as automobiles and other transportation equipment, household appliances and electronic goods.

A321 final assembly (9351765668)
An Airbus A321 on final assembly line 3 in the Airbus plant at Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport
Hyundai car assembly line
Hyundai's car assembly line

Concepts

Final assembly 3
Lotus Cars assembly line as of 2008

Assembly lines are designed for the sequential organization of workers, tools or machines, and parts. The motion of workers is minimized to the extent possible. All parts or assemblies are handled either by conveyors or motorized vehicles such as fork lifts, or gravity, with no manual trucking. Heavy lifting is done by machines such as overhead cranes or fork lifts. Each worker typically performs one simple operation.

According to Henry Ford:

The principles of assembly are these:

(1) Place the tools and the men in the sequence of the operation so that each component part shall travel the least possible distance while in the process of finishing.

(2) Use work slides or some other form of carrier so that when a workman completes his operation, he drops the part always in the same place—which place must always be the most convenient place to his hand—and if possible have gravity carry the part to the next workman for his own.

(3) Use sliding assembling lines by which the parts to be assembled are delivered at convenient distances.[1]

Simple example

Consider the assembly of a car: assume that certain steps in the assembly line are to install the engine, install the hood, and install the wheels (in that order, with arbitrary interstitial steps); only one of these steps can be done at a time. In traditional production, only one car would be assembled at a time. If engine installation takes 20 minutes, hood installation takes five minutes, and wheels installation takes 10 minutes, then a car can be produced every 35 minutes.

In an assembly line, car assembly is split between several stations, all working simultaneously. When one station is finished with a car, it passes it on to the next. By having three stations, a total of three different cars can be operated on at the same time, each one at a different stage of its assembly.

After finishing its work on the first car, the engine installation crew can begin working on the second car. While the engine installation crew works on the second car, the first car can be moved to the hood station and fitted with a hood, then to the wheels station and be fitted with wheels. After the engine has been installed on the second car, the second car moves to the hood assembly. At the same time, the third car moves to the engine assembly. When the third car's engine has been mounted, it then can be moved to the hood station; meanwhile, subsequent cars (if any) can be moved to the engine installation station.

Assuming no loss of time when moving a car from one station to another, the longest stage on the assembly line determines the throughput (20 minutes for the engine installation) so a car can be produced every 20 minutes, once the first car taking 35 minutes has been produced.

History

Before the Industrial Revolution, most manufactured products were made individually by hand. A single craftsman or team of craftsmen would create each part of a product. They would use their skills and tools such as files and knives to create the individual parts. They would then assemble them into the final product, making cut-and-try changes in the parts until they fit and could work together (craft production).

Division of labor was practiced in China where state run monopolies mass-produced metal agricultural implements, china, armor, and weapons centuries before it appeared in Europe on the eve of the Industrial Revolution.[2] Adam Smith discussed the division of labour in the manufacture of pins at length in his book The Wealth of Nations (published in 1776).

The Venetian Arsenal, dating to about 1104, operated similar to a production line. Ships moved down a canal and were fitted by the various shops they passed. At the peak of its efficiency in the early 16th century, the Arsenal employed some 16,000 people who could apparently produce nearly one ship each day, and could fit out, arm, and provision a newly built galley with standardized parts on an assembly-line basis. Although the Arsenal lasted until the early Industrial Revolution, production line methods did not become common even then.

Industrial revolution

The Industrial Revolution led to a proliferation of manufacturing and invention. Many industries, notably textiles, firearms, clocks and watches,[3] horse-drawn vehicles, railway locomotives, sewing machines, and bicycles, saw expeditious improvement in materials handling, machining, and assembly during the 19th century, although modern concepts such as industrial engineering and logistics had not yet been named.

PulleyShip
The pulley block was the first manufacture to become fully automated at the Portsmouth Block Mills in the early 19th century.

The automatic flour mill built by Oliver Evans in 1785 was called the beginning of modern bulk material handling by Roe (1916). Evans's mill used a leather belt bucket elevator, screw conveyors, canvas belt conveyors, and other mechanical devices to completely automate the process of making flour. The innovation spread to other mills and breweries.[4][5]

Probably the earliest industrial example of a linear and continuous assembly process is the Portsmouth Block Mills, built between 1801 and 1803. Marc Isambard Brunel (father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel), with the help of Henry Maudslay and others, designed 22 types of machine tools to make the parts for the rigging blocks used by the Royal Navy. This factory was so successful that it remained in use until the 1960s, with the workshop still visible at HM Dockyard in Portsmouth, and still containing some of the original machinery.

One of the earliest examples of an almost modern factory layout, designed for easy material handling, was the Bridgewater Foundry. The factory grounds were bordered by the Bridgewater Canal and the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The buildings were arranged in a line with a railway for carrying the work going through the buildings. Cranes were used for lifting the heavy work, which sometimes weighed in the tens of tons. The work passed sequentially through to erection of framework and final assembly.[6]

Bridgewater foundary
The Bridgewater Foundry, pictured in 1839, one of the earliest factories to use an almost modern layout, workflow, and material-handling system

The first flow assembly line was initiated at the factory of Richard Garrett & Sons, Leiston Works in Leiston in the English county of Suffolk for the manufacture of portable steam engines. The assembly line area was called 'The Long Shop' on account of its length and was fully operational by early 1853. The boiler was brought up from the foundry and put at the start of the line, and as it progressed through the building it would stop at various stages where new parts would be added. From the upper level, where other parts were made, the lighter parts would be lowered over a balcony and then fixed onto the machine on the ground level. When the machine reached the end of the shop, it would be completed. [7]

Interchangeable parts

During the early 19th century, the development of machine tools such as the screw-cutting lathe, metal planer, and milling machine, and of toolpath control via jigs and fixtures, provided the prerequisites for the modern assembly line by making interchangeable parts a practical reality.

Late 19th century steam and electric conveyors

Steam powered conveyor lifts began being used for loading and unloading ships some time in the last quarter of the 19th century.[8] Hounshell (1984) shows a c. 1885 sketch of an electric powered conveyor moving cans through a filling line in a canning factory.

The meatpacking industry of Chicago is believed to be one of the first industrial assembly lines (or dis-assembly lines) to be utilized in the United States starting in 1867. Workers would stand at fixed stations and a pulley system would bring the meat to each worker and they would complete one task. Henry Ford and others have written about the influence of this slaughterhouse practice on the later developments at Ford Motor Company.

20th century

Ford assembly line - 1913
Ford assembly line, 1913. The magneto assembly line was the first.[9][10]
A-line1913
1913 Experimenting with mounting body on Model T chassis. Ford tested various assembly methods to optimize the procedures before permanently installing the equipment. The actual assembly line used an overhead crane to mount the body.
Ford Model T assembly line circa 1919
Ford Model T assembly line circa 1924
Ford assembly line circa 1930
Ford assembly line circa 1947

According to Domm, the implementation of mass production of an automobile via an assembly line may be credited to Ransom Olds, who used it to build the first mass-produced automobile, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash.[11] Olds patented the assembly line concept, which he put to work in his Olds Motor Vehicle Company factory in 1901.[12]

At Ford Motor Company, the assembly line was introduced by William "Pa" Klann upon his return from visiting Swift & Company's slaughterhouse in Chicago and viewing what was referred to as the "disassembly line", where carcasses were butchered as they moved along a conveyor. The efficiency of one person removing the same piece over and over without himself moving caught his attention. He reported the idea to Peter E. Martin, soon to be head of Ford production, who was doubtful at the time but encouraged him to proceed. Others at Ford have claimed to have put the idea forth to Henry Ford, but Pa Klann's slaughterhouse revelation is well documented in the archives at the Henry Ford Museum[13] and elsewhere, making him an important contributor to the modern automated assembly line concept. Ford was appreciative, having visited the highly automated 40-acre Sears mail order handling facility around 1906. At Ford, the process was an evolution by trial and error[10] of a team consisting primarily of Peter E. Martin, the factory superintendent; Charles E. Sorensen, Martin's assistant; Clarence W. Avery; C. Harold Wills, draftsman and toolmaker; Charles Ebender; and József Galamb. Some of the groundwork for such development had recently been laid by the intelligent layout of machine tool placement that Walter Flanders had been doing at Ford up to 1908.

The moving assembly line was developed for the Ford Model T and began operation on October 7, 1913, at the Highland Park Ford Plant,[14][15] and continued to evolve after that, using time and motion study.[10] The assembly line, driven by conveyor belts, reduced production time for a Model T to just 93 minutes[11] by dividing the process into 45 steps.[16] Producing cars quicker than paint of the day could dry, it had an immense influence on the world.

In 1922, Ford (through his ghostwriter Crowther) said of his 1913 assembly line:

I believe that this was the first moving line ever installed. The idea came in a general way from the overhead trolley that the Chicago packers use in dressing beef.[17]

Charles E. Sorensen, in his 1956 memoir My Forty Years with Ford, presented a different version of development that was not so much about individual "inventors" as a gradual, logical development of industrial engineering:

What was worked out at Ford was the practice of moving the work from one worker to another until it became a complete unit, then arranging the flow of these units at the right time and the right place to a moving final assembly line from which came a finished product. Regardless of earlier uses of some of these principles, the direct line of succession of mass production and its intensification into automation stems directly from what we worked out at Ford Motor Company between 1908 and 1913. Henry Ford is generally regarded as the father of mass production. He was not. He was the sponsor of it.[18]

As a result of these developments in method, Ford's cars came off the line in three-minute intervals, or six feet per minute.[19] This was much faster than previous methods, increasing production by eight to one (requiring 12.5 man-hours before, 1 hour 33 minutes after), while using less manpower.[3] It was so successful, paint became a bottleneck. Only japan black would dry fast enough, forcing the company to drop the variety of colors available before 1914, until fast-drying Duco lacquer was developed in 1926.[3]

The assembly line technique was an integral part of the diffusion of the automobile into American society. Decreased costs of production allowed the cost of the Model T to fall within the budget of the American middle class. In 1908, the price of a Model T was around $825, and by 1912 it had decreased to around $575. This price reduction is comparable to a reduction from $15,000 to $10,000 in dollar terms from the year 2000. In 1914, an assembly line worker could buy a Model T with four months' pay.[3]

Ford's complex safety procedures—especially assigning each worker to a specific location instead of allowing them to roam about—dramatically reduced the rate of injury. The combination of high wages and high efficiency is called "Fordism", and was copied by most major industries. The efficiency gains from the assembly line also coincided with the take-off of the United States. The assembly line forced workers to work at a certain pace with very repetitive motions which led to more output per worker while other countries were using less productive methods.

In the automotive industry, its success was dominating, and quickly spread worldwide. Ford France and Ford Britain in 1911, Ford Denmark 1923, Ford Germany and Ford Japan 1925; in 1919, Vulcan (Southport, Lancashire) was the first native European manufacturer to adopt it. Soon, companies had to have assembly lines, or risk going broke by not being able to compete; by 1930, 250 companies which did not had disappeared.[3]

The massive demand for military hardware in World War II prompted assembly-line techniques in shipbuilding and aircraft production. Thousands of Liberty Ships were built making extensive use of prefabrication, enabling ship assembly to be completed in weeks or even days. After having produced fewer than 3,000 planes for the United States Military in 1939, American aircraft manufacturers built over 300,000 planes in World War II. Vultee pioneered the use of the powered assembly line for aircraft manufacturing. Other companies quickly followed. As William S. Knudsen (having worked at Ford,[10] GM and the National Defense Advisory Commission) observed, "We won because we smothered the enemy in an avalanche of production, the like of which he had never seen, nor dreamed possible."[20][21]

Improved working conditions

In his 1922 autobiography,[1] Henry Ford mentions several benefits of the assembly line including:

  • Workers do no heavy lifting.
  • No stooping or bending over.
  • No special training required.
  • There are jobs that almost anyone can do.
  • Provided employment to immigrants.

The gains in productivity allowed Ford to increase worker pay from $1.50 per day to $5.00 per day once employees reached three years of service on the assembly line. Ford continued on to reduce the hourly work week while continuously lowering the Model T price. These goals appear altruistic; however, it has been argued that they were implemented by Ford in order to reduce high employee turnover: when the assembly line was introduced in 1913, it was discovered that "every time the company wanted to add 100 men to its factory personnel, it was necessary to hire 963" in order to counteract the natural distaste the assembly line seems to have inspired.[22]

Sociological problems

Sociological work has explored the social alienation and boredom that many workers feel because of the repetition of doing the same specialized task all day long.[23]

One of capitalism's most famous critics, Karl Marx, expressed in his Entfremdung theory the belief that in order to achieve job satisfaction workers need to see themselves in the objects they have created, that products should be "mirrors in which workers see their reflected essential nature." Marx viewed labour as a chance for us to externalize facets of our personality. Marxists argue that specialization makes it very difficult for any worker to feel they may be contributing to the real needs of humanity. The repetitive nature of specialized tasks causes, they say, a feeling of disconnection between what a worker does all day, who they really are, and what they would ideally be able to contribute to society. Marx also argued that specialised jobs are insecure, since the worker is expendable as soon as costs rise and technology can replace more expensive human labour.[24]

Since workers have to stand in the same place for hours and repeat the same motion hundreds of times per day repetitive stress injuries are a possible pathology of occupational safety. Industrial noise also proved dangerous. When it was not too high, workers were often prohibited from talking. Charles Piaget, a skilled worker at the LIP factory, recalled that beside being prohibited from speaking, the semi-skilled workers had only 25 centimeters in which to move.[25] Industrial ergonomics later tried to minimize physical trauma.

See also

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ a b Ford & Crowther 1922, p. 45 (on line version), p. 80 (print version)
  2. ^ Merson 1990
  3. ^ a b c d e G.N. Georgano 1985.
  4. ^ Roe 1916
  5. ^ Hounshell 1984
  6. ^ Musson & Robinson 1969, pp. 491–5
  7. ^ "Long Shop Museum". Retrieved 2012-12-17.
  8. ^ Wells 1890
  9. ^ Swan, Tony (April 2013). "Ford's Assembly Line Turns 100: How It Really Put the World on Wheels". Car and driver. Retrieved 26 March 2017.
  10. ^ a b c d Weber, Austin (2013-10-01). "The Moving Assembly Line Turns 100". Assembly Magazine. Archived from the original on 2016-08-26. Retrieved 2017-03-26. The assembly line ... was the result of a long period of trial and error. The assembly line wasn't a planned development; rather, it emerged in 1913 from a dynamic situation. People such as Carl Emde, William Klann and William Knudsen all played key roles in early automation efforts at Ford's Highland Park factory. Two individuals were essential to the success of the moving assembly line: Clarence Avery and Charles Sorensen. constant redesign of the Model T. Many components were tweaked regularly to make the vehicle easier to assemble. In 1913 alone, Ford made more than 100 design changes every month. Continuous experimentation was the rule rather than the exception at Ford's Highland Park plant. Ford engineers were constantly redesigning and tweaking jigs and fixtures, and planning new machine tools or fixing old ones, to achieve higher production.
  11. ^ a b Domm 2009, p. 29
  12. ^ Ament, Phil. "Assembly Line History: Invention of the Assembly Line". Ideafinder.com. Retrieved 2011-10-15.
  13. ^ Klann, W. C. (n.d.). "Reminiscences". Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village Archives. Accession 65.
  14. ^ "Ford's Assembly Line Turns 100: How It Changed Manufacturing and Society". New York Daily News. October 7, 2013. Archived from the original on November 30, 2013. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  15. ^ "Moving Assembly Line at Ford". This Day in History. The History Channel. Retrieved September 2, 2016.
  16. ^ Weber, Austin (2008-09-02). "How the Model T Was Assembled". Assembly Magazine. Archived from the original on 2016-03-06. Retrieved 2017-03-26.
  17. ^ Ford & Crowther 1922, p. 81
  18. ^ Sorensen 1956, p. 116.
  19. ^ Ford et al.
  20. ^ Herman 2012, pp. 176–91
  21. ^ Parker 2012, pp. 5–12
  22. ^ Crawford, Matthew. "Shop Class as Soulcraft". The New Atlantis. Archived from the original on 2013-06-01.
  23. ^ Blauner, Robert (Summer 1965). "Alienation and Freedom: The Factory Worker and His Industry". Technology and Culture. 6 (3): 518–519. JSTOR 4105309.
  24. ^ Marx, Karl. "Comment on James Mill," Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844: 1844.
  25. ^ "Leçons d'autogestion" [Autogestion Lessons] (Interview) (in French). Archived from the original on 7 July 2007.

Works cited

  • Borth, Christy (1945). Masters of Mass Production. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company.
  • Domm, Robert W. (2009). Michigan Yesterday & Today. Voyageur Press. ISBN 9780760333853.
  • Ford, Henry & Crowther, Samuel (1922). My Life and Work. Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing. ISBN 0-405-05088-7.
  • Herman, Arthur (2012). Freedom's Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-1-4000-6964-4.
  • Merson, John (1990). The Genius That Was China: East and West in the Making of the Modern World. Woodstock, NY: The Overlook Press. ISBN 0-87951-397-7. A companion to the PBS Series The Genius That Was China.
  • Musson & Robinson (1969). Science and Technology in the Industrial Revolution. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
  • Nye, David E. (2013). America's Assembly Line. MIT Press.
  • Hounshell, David A. (1984). From the American System to Mass Production, 1800–1932: The Development of Manufacturing Technology in the United States. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 978-0-8018-2975-8. LCCN 83016269.
  • Parker, Dana T. (2013). Building Victory: Aircraft Manufacturing in the Los Angeles Area in World War II. Cypress, CA. ISBN 978-0-9897906-0-4.
  • Roe, Joseph Wickham (1916), English and American Tool Builders, New Haven, Connecticut: Yale University Press, LCCN 16011753. Reprinted by McGraw-Hill, New York and London, 1926 (LCCN 27-24075); and by Lindsay Publications, Inc., Bradley, Illinois, (ISBN 978-0-917914-73-7).
  • Wells, David A. (1890). Recent Economic Changes and Their Effect on Production and Distribution of Wealth and Well-Being of Society. New York: D. Appleton and Co. ISBN 0-543-72474-3.
  • We-Min Chow (1990). Assembly Line Design.
  • Sorensen, Charles E. & Williamson, Samuel T. (1956). My Forty Years with Ford. New York: Norton. LCCN 56010854.

External links

Boeing 717

The Boeing 717 is a twin-engine, single-aisle jet airliner, developed for the 100-seat market. The airliner was designed and originally marketed by McDonnell Douglas as the MD-95, a derivative of the DC-9 family. Capable of seating up to 134 passengers, the 717 has a design range of 2,060 nautical miles (3,820 km). It is powered by two Rolls-Royce BR715 turbofan engines mounted at the rear of the fuselage.

The first order was placed in October 1995 by ValuJet Airlines (later AirTran Airways); McDonnell Douglas and Boeing merged in 1997 prior to production. The airliner entered service in 1999 as the Boeing 717. Production ceased in May 2006 after 156 were built. There were 148 Boeing 717 aircraft in service as of July 2018.

Bubblegum pop

Bubblegum pop (also known as bubblegum music or simply bubblegum) is a genre of pop music with an upbeat sound contrived and marketed to appeal to pre-teens and teenagers, which may be produced in an assembly-line process, driven by producers and often using unknown singers. Bubblegum's classic period ran from 1967 to 1972. A second wave of bubblegum began two years later and ran until 1977 when disco took over.

The genre was predominantly a singles phenomenon rather than an album-oriented one. Acts were typically manufactured in the studio using session musicians, and most bubblegum pop groups were one-hit wonders. Among the best-known acts of bubblegum's golden era are 1910 Fruitgum Company, the Lemon Pipers, the Ohio Express and the Archies, an animated group which had the most successful bubblegum song with "Sugar, Sugar", Billboard Magazine's No. 1 single for 1969. Singer Tommy Roe, arguably, had the most bubblegum hits of any artist during this period, notably 1969's "Dizzy".

Capacitive displacement sensor

Capacitive displacement sensors “are non-contact devices capable of high-resolution measurement of the position and/or change of position of any conductive target”. They are also able to measure the thickness or density of non-conductive materials. Capacitive displacement sensors are used in a wide variety of applications including semiconductor processing, assembly of precision equipment such as disk drives, precision thickness measurements, machine tool metrology and assembly line testing. These types of sensors can be found in machining and manufacturing facilities around the world.

Detroit Historical Museum

The Detroit Historical Museum is located at 5401 Woodward Avenue in the city's Cultural Center Historic District in Midtown Detroit. It chronicles the history of the Detroit area from cobblestone streets, 19th century stores, the auto assembly line, toy trains, fur trading from the 18th century, and much more.

Ephemeralization

Ephemeralization, a term coined by R. Buckminster Fuller, is the ability of technological advancement to do "more and more with less and less until eventually you can do everything with nothing," that is, an accelerating increase in the efficiency of achieving the same or more output (products, services, information, etc.) while requiring less input (effort, time, resources, etc.). Fuller's vision was that ephemeralization will result in ever-increasing standards of living for an ever-growing population despite finite resources. The concept has been embraced by those who argue against Malthusian philosophy.Fuller uses Henry Ford's assembly line as an example of how ephemeralization can continuously lead to better products at lower cost with no upper bound on productivity. Fuller saw ephemeralization as an inevitable trend in human development. The progression was from "compression" to "tension" to "visual" to "abstract electrical" (i.e., nonsensorial radiation, such as radio waves, x rays, etc.).Length measurement technologies in human development, for example, started with a compressive measure, such as a ruler. The compressive technique reached an upper limit with a rod. For longer measures, a tensive measure such as a string or rope was used. This reached an upper limit with sagging of the string. Next was a surveyor's telescope (visual). This reached an upper limit with curvature of the earth. Next was radio triangulation (abstract electrical). The technological progression is a continuing increase in length-measuring ability per pound of instrument, with no apparent upper limit according to Fuller.

Factory

A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an industrial site, usually consisting of buildings and machinery, or more commonly a complex having several buildings, where workers manufacture goods or operate machines processing one product into another.

Factories arose with the introduction of machinery during the Industrial Revolution when the capital and space requirements became too great for cottage industry or workshops. Early factories that contained small amounts of machinery, such as one or two spinning mules, and fewer than a dozen workers have been called "glorified workshops".Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production. Large factories tend to be located with access to multiple modes of transportation, with some having rail, highway and water loading and unloading facilities.

Factories may either make discrete products or some type of material continuously produced such as chemicals, pulp and paper, or refined oil products. Factories manufacturing chemicals are often called plants and may have most of their equipment – tanks, pressure vessels, chemical reactors, pumps and piping – outdoors and operated from control rooms. Oil refineries have most of their equipment outdoors.

Discrete products may be final consumer goods, or parts and sub-assemblies which are made into final products elsewhere. Factories may be supplied parts from elsewhere or make them from raw materials. Continuous production industries typically use heat or electricity to transform streams of raw materials into finished products.

The term mill originally referred to the milling of grain, which usually used natural resources such as water or wind power until those were displaced by steam power in the 19th century. Because many processes like spinning and weaving, iron rolling, and paper manufacturing were originally powered by water, the term survives as in steel mill, paper mill, etc.

Ford Model T

The Ford Model T (colloquially known as the Tin Lizzie, Leaping Lena, jitney or flivver) is an automobile produced by Ford Motor Company from October 1, 1908, to May 26, 1927. It is generally regarded as the first affordable automobile, the car that opened travel to the common middle-class American; some of this was because of Ford's efficient fabrication, including assembly line production instead of individual hand crafting.The Ford Model T was named the most influential car of the 20th century in the 1999 Car of the Century competition, ahead of the BMC Mini, Citroën DS, and Volkswagen Type 1. Ford's Model T was successful not only because it provided inexpensive transportation on a massive scale, but also because the car signified innovation for the rising middle class and became a powerful symbol of America's age of modernization. With 16.5 million sold it stands eighth on the top ten list of most sold cars of all time as of 2012.Although automobiles had been produced from the 1880s they were still mostly scarce, expensive, and often unreliable at the Model T's introduction in 1908. Positioned as reliable, easily maintained, mass-market transportation, it was a runaway success. In a matter of days after the release, 15,000 orders were placed. The first production Model T was produced on August 12, 1908 and left the factory on September 27, 1908, at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, Michigan. On May 26, 1927, Henry Ford watched the 15 millionth Model T Ford roll off the assembly line at his factory in Highland Park, Michigan.Henry Ford conceived a series of cars between the founding of the company in 1903 and the introduction the Model T. Ford named his first car the Model A and proceeded through the alphabet up through the Model T, twenty models in all. Not all the models went into production. The production model immediately before the Model T was the Model S, an upgraded version of the company's largest success to that point, the Model N. The follow-up was the Ford Model A (rather than any Model U). The company publicity said this was because the new car was such a departure from the old that Henry wanted to start all over again with the letter A.

The Model T was Ford's first automobile mass-produced on moving assembly lines with completely interchangeable parts, marketed to the middle class. Henry Ford said of the vehicle:

I will build a motor car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one – and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces.

Although credit for the development of the assembly line belongs to Ransom E. Olds, with the first mass-produced automobile, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, having begun in 1901, the tremendous advancements in the efficiency of the system over the life of the Model T can be credited almost entirely to the vision of Ford and his engineers.

Ford Piquette Avenue Plant

The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant is a former factory located within the Milwaukee Junction area of Detroit, Michigan, in the United States. Built in 1904, it was the second center of automobile production for the Ford Motor Company, after the Ford Mack Avenue Plant. At the Piquette Avenue Plant, the company created and first produced the Ford Model T, the car credited with initiating the mass use of automobiles in the United States. Prior to the Model T, several other car models were assembled at the factory. Early experiments using a moving assembly line to make cars were also conducted there. It was also the first factory where more than 100 cars were assembled in one day. While it was headquartered at the Piquette Avenue Plant, Ford Motor Company became the biggest U.S.-based automaker, and it would remain so until the mid-1920s. The factory was used by the company until 1910, when its car production activity was relocated to the new, bigger Highland Park Ford Plant.

Studebaker bought the factory in 1911, using it to assemble cars until 1933. The building was sold in 1936, going through a series of owners for the rest of the 20th century before becoming a museum in 2001. The Piquette Avenue Plant is the oldest purpose-built automotive factory building open to the public. The museum, which was visited by 18,000 people in 2016, has exhibits that primarily focus on the beginning of the United States automotive industry. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2002, became a Michigan State Historic Site in 2003, and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

Henry Ford

Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American captain of industry and a business magnate, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and the sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production.

Although Ford did not invent the automobile or the assembly line, he developed and manufactured the first automobile that many middle-class Americans could afford. In doing so, Ford converted the automobile from an expensive curiosity into a practical conveyance that would profoundly impact the landscape of the 20th century. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry. As the owner of the Ford Motor Company, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He is credited with "Fordism": mass production of inexpensive goods coupled with high wages for workers. Ford had a global vision, with consumerism as the key to peace. His intense commitment to systematically lowering costs resulted in many technical and business innovations, including a franchise system that put dealerships throughout most of North America and in major cities on six continents. Ford left most of his vast wealth to the Ford Foundation and arranged for his family to control the company permanently.

Ford was also widely known for his pacifism during the first years of World War I, and for promoting antisemitic content, including The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, through his newspaper The Dearborn Independent and the book The International Jew, having an influence on the development of Nazism and Adolf Hitler.

Highland Park Ford Plant

The Highland Park Ford Plant is a former Ford Motor Company factory located at 91 Manchester Avenue (at Woodward Avenue) in Highland Park, Michigan. It was the second American production facility for the Model T automobile and the first factory in history to assemble cars on a moving assembly line. It became a National Historic Landmark in 1978.

Kaizen

Kaizen (改善) is the Sino-Japanese word for "improvement". In business, kaizen refers to activities that continuously improve all functions and involve all employees from the CEO to the assembly line workers. It also applies to processes, such as purchasing and logistics, that cross organizational boundaries into the supply chain. It has been applied in healthcare, psychotherapy, life-coaching, government, and banking.

By improving standardized programmes and processes, kaizen aims to eliminate waste (see lean manufacturing). Kaizen was first practiced in Japanese businesses after World War II, influenced in part by American business and quality-management teachers, and most notably as part of The Toyota Way. It has since spread throughout the world and has been applied to environments outside business and productivity.

MPTA-ET

The Main Propulsion Test Article External Tank (MPTA-ET) was built by NASA to be used in conjunction with MPTA-098 for structural tests of the Space Shuttle Main Engines prior to construction of flyable craft. It rolled off the assembly line on September 9, 1977 at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was then transported to the National Space Technology Laboratories in southern Mississippi where it was used in the static test firing of the Shuttle's cluster of three main engines.

Management science

Management science (MS) is the broad interdisciplinary study of problem solving and decision making in human organizations, with strong links to management, economics, business, engineering, management consulting, and other sciences. It uses various scientific research-based principles, strategies, and analytical methods including mathematical modeling, statistics and numerical algorithms to improve an organization's ability to enact rational and accurate management decisions by arriving at optimal or near optimal solutions to complex decision problems. Management science helps businesses to achieve goals using various scientific methods.

The field was initially an outgrowth of applied mathematics, where early challenges were problems relating to the optimization of systems which could be modeled linearly, i.e., determining the optima (maximum value of profit, assembly line performance, crop yield, bandwidth, etc. or minimum of loss, risk, costs, etc.) of some objective function. Today, management science encompasses any organizational activity for which the problem can be structured as a functional system so as to obtain a solution set with identifiable characteristics.

Mass production

Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of large amounts of standardized products, including and especially on assembly lines. Together with job production and batch production, it is one of the three main production methods.The term mass production was popularized by a 1926 article in the Encyclopædia Britannica supplement that was written based on correspondence with Ford Motor Company. The New York Times used the term in the title of an article that appeared before publication of the Britannica article.The concepts of mass production are applied to various kinds of products, from fluids and particulates handled in bulk (such as food, fuel, chemicals, and mined minerals) to discrete solid parts (such as fasteners) to assemblies of such parts (such as household appliances and automobiles).

Mass production is a diverse field, but it can generally be contrasted with craft production or distributed manufacturing. Some mass production techniques, such as standardized sizes and production lines, predate the Industrial Revolution by many centuries; however, it was not until the introduction of machine tools and techniques to produce interchangeable parts were developed in the mid 19th century that modern mass production was possible.

Powerhouse (instrumental)

"Powerhouse" (1937) is an instrumental musical composition by Raymond Scott, perhaps best known today as the iconic "assembly line" music in animated cartoons released by Warner Bros.

Production line

A production line is a set of sequential operations established in a factory where materials are put through a refining process to produce an end-product that is suitable for onward consumption; or components are assembled to make a finished article.

Typically, raw materials such as metal ores or agricultural products such as foodstuffs or textile source plants (cotton, flax) require a sequence of treatments to render them useful. For metal, the processes include crushing, smelting and further refining. For plants, the useful material has to be separated from husks or contaminants and then treated for onward sale.

Ransom E. Olds

Ransom Eli Olds (June 3, 1864 – August 26, 1950) was a pioneer of the American automotive industry, after whom the Oldsmobile and REO brands were named. He claimed to have built his first steam car as early as 1887 and his first gasoline-powered car in 1896. The modern assembly line and its basic concept is credited to Olds, who used it to build the first mass-produced automobile, the Oldsmobile Curved Dash, beginning in 1901.

Soho Manufactory

The Soho Manufactory (grid reference SP051890) was an early factory which pioneered mass production on the assembly line principle, in Soho, Birmingham, England, at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. It operated from 1766–1848 and was demolished in 1863.

Vertical form fill sealing machine

A vertical form fill sealing machine is a type of automated assembly-line product packaging system, commonly used in the packaging industry for food, and a wide variety of other products. Walter Zwoyer, the inventor of the technology, patented his idea for the VFFS machine in 1936 while working with the Henry Heide Candy Company. The machine constructs plastic bags out of a flat roll of film, while simultaneously filling the bags with product and sealing the filled bags. Both solids and liquids can be bagged using this packaging system.

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