Production lines began with very little technology involved, but now, production lines look very different to how they used to. With the development of new technologies, this change will inevitably continue. This article considers how manufacturing advances could be changing the production lines of the future.
As technology develops, it is becoming more and more possible to increase the speed of processes. Developments like injection molding mean that it is now easy for products to be produced on a mass scale that has never been seen before. With this increased speed, there is far more opportunity to make bigger profits from a single factory and reach a larger audience. Injection molding is likely to have a huge impact on production lines by increasing their speed dramatically.
Since the beginning of production lines, there has been a bid to increase quality. This has changed significantly over the past 10 years, with a move away from human quality checks and towards automatic processes to achieve the same thing.
In the construction of the new iPhone 5, for example, the process of selecting a case to best fit the rest of the phone (so that it will dissipate heat properly) relies on the use of incredibly powerful cameras and a tolerance that is invisible to the naked eye. Increased accuracy and complex checks like this are inevitable in future production lines.
There will also be a wide range of processes that we simply cannot comprehend involved in the production lines of the future. There are many technical differences between what we have now and what we had just 10 years ago.
The ability to utilise 3D printers to produce items, for instance, is something that many could not have comprehended a few years ago. Such a system enables the same machine to print a wide range of different products, and this is very different from present production lines that are highly specialised for one process only. Versatility of use is a potential difference that may result from new technologies.
If the globalisation of the world has taught us anything, then it should have been that the demand and scale of supply will continue to increase. Increasing the scale of production means that you will need systems to handle this load, and it is likely that future production lines will see a rise inthe use of technologies like overhead cranes. Also, if you increase the scale of production, you’ll increasethe scale of everything else as well, and it is likely that we will witness an explosion in the level of production to meet increaseddemand in a cost-effective manner.
Since computers and robotic systems were introduced to the production lines, there has been a steady decline in the amount of people needed for the same amount of work. Employees on production lines have tended to increase in terms of qualifications and decrease in numbers. The main role of employees is now to maintain the production line, rather than actually work on the production line.