Nearly all the items that we use on a daily basis, from the toothbrush in the morning till the evening snack of a pack of chips, are made in bulk, on factory production lines. A production line is a sequential series of operations which are carried out to produce a product. Electronic devices, customer durables, home appliances, FMCG as well as packaged food items are made on production lines.
Production lines may be of two kinds:
1. Manual Production Lines:
The products made on such lines are man-made. All the operations that go into the production are carried out by skilled operators without the use of any automation. Such production lines are less efficient than the automated ones and have greater quality risks. However, some specialized products may demand a manual production line.
2. Automated Production Lines:
Automated lines are those on which all the operations that are required for building a product are mechanized. Robotic systems are used for carrying out critical operations as the product moves along a conveyor belt. Such production lines are the most efficient technology in manufacturing.The rate of product rejection is extremely less and the quality of products is superior.
3. Semi-automatic Production Lines:
These production lines use both; manual labor as well as robotic mechanisms for production of goods. Most of the products we see are built on such lines. The benefit such lines provide is that, some of the critical operations requiring skill may be assigned a skilled operator. Automotive manufacturing is one industry that uses such manufacturing lines. However, due to the addition of operators, there is also some scope for human errors. Quality check is a very important operation on these lines.
There are several stages of production involved in manufacturing a product. Some of the generic stages are as below:
1. Pre-production Quality Check:
This is the function where all the incoming parts are checked for their quality. Any parts not fitting certain specifications are rejected and returned to their respective vendors for analysis. It is necessary for production houses to maintain a predetermined quality level for all incoming parts.
2. The actual process of production:
Depending on the product, the stages in this process may vary. For example, in an auto manufacturing plant, there are various states such as, chassis assembly, electrical assembly and painting.
3. The Final Quality Check:
In this process the finished goods are examined thoroughly. The ones acceptable for shipping are marked as ‘OK’ and the rejected ones are analyzed for faults.
All the products that we use are packaged in some way or another. All customer acceptable products from production lines are packed and forwarded to logistics.
Maintaining and operating a production line is a tedious job. Daily targets must be fulfilled and the plant must run at full capacity to ensure productivity. With the ever increasing consumerism, the manufacturing industry is flourishing at a very rapid rate. As days go by, production technology is expected to improve by leaps and bounds!