Myths to Debunk Related to the Manufacturing Process
Myths surround the manufacturing process, so it’s only right to provide some understanding of the facts. Read further on now.
The manufacturing industry is still standing strong as an entity to the world economy, despite the rise and popularity of the service industry. According to the World Bank in 2019 alone, the manufacturing industry generated up to $13.8 trillion in economic value globally. This represents approximately 15 percent of the entire world’s GDP (gross domestic product.)
In spite of this sector’s firm stand in the world economy, several myths about the industry persist. And they are about to be debunked in the next few minutes.
The Manufacturing Process
A manufacturing process refers to the method or procedure via which an organization creates or builds a product. In most cases, manufacturing processes are complex activities that involve the use of a wide range of equipment, tools, and machinery. It also involves multiple levels of automation using manned and un-manned computers, cloud-based technology, and robots.
Every thriving business you see today has successfully established its own or unique manufacturing process for creating products for its numerous customers, home and abroad. Organizations are at liberty to determine which production method to opt for, based on several factors such as:
- Consumer demand
- The assembly technique
- Sales forecasts
- Materials involved
- Resources available, etc.
For instance, a company can choose to produce goods in bulk batches while a particular ingredient is on sale or in stock. Or choose to create the products in smaller amounts in order to fulfill customer orders without incurring additional storage costs.
Most of the manufacturing processes today originate from the Industrial Revolution of the 1800s. During this period, the industry underwent a drastic change from man-made to man-and-machine-made. Advances in technology these days make processes easier to follow and understand.
Every process is unique and comes with specific advantages in order to swiftly complete a particular task. Sub-sectors within the manufacturing industry – e.g., apparel, chemical, electronic, or food – are also thriving.
And this goes to show that the manufacturing industry is not going anywhere anytime soon.
The Different Types of Manufacturing Processes
Six different types of manufacturing processes exist and are used actively within the industry worldwide today. The type of product you create or the business you engage in will determine how well a manufacturing process works for your organization.
Here they are in no particular order:
- Batch Manufacturing Process
This manufacturing process bears remarkable similarities with the job shop manufacturing process (discussed below). The availability of raw materials/ingredients or customer demand drives this manufacturing process.
A single manufacturing run can produce a batch that is more than enough to fulfill customers’ needs. Once the production ends, you clean the equipment and only resume when another batch is required.
- Discrete Manufacturing Process
This process uses a production or assembly line, giving room for more frequent variation and changeover. One organization can have multiple sizes, styles, or modifications for a particular product. However, production may take longer since removal or extra setup is necessary.
- Continuous Manufacturing Process
This manufacturing process runs 24/7. What differentiates it from the repetitive manufacturing process is its focus on raw materials, often slurry or liquid, powders, and gases.
Paper production, oil refining, production of tomato sauce, metal smelting, etc., use this vital process.
- Job Shop Manufacturing Process
This manufacturing process uses production areas as against an assembly line. It is generally deployed for small-batch custom products that are primarily made-to-order for specific customers.
Workstations may focus on a handful of products or just a particular one – e.g., commercial printing press or custom shoemaker. These are the processes that many machine shops use today in order to create local industrial machinery and ship specialized parts or components for the aviation industry.
Some of the sites now make use of job manufacturing software in order to ease workflow and production. For production rates, you can scale volume by moving to a repetitive manufacturing process. The latter is discussed below.
- 3D Printing
This unique manufacturing process was developed in the 1980s and involved using various materials and composites like metals, plastics, etc., in order to create 3-dimensional products layer by layer. This is based on digital models as against using mechanization or physical labor.
3D printing has expanded massively over the years, and the market has dozens of equipment and printed items on sale.
- Repetitive Manufacturing Process
This process is employed for repeat production at committed production rates. Production lines are dedicated to working on the same component or product each day, all year-round. There is little setup and changeover, making it possible to match the speed of operation to client requirements or customer demands to make fewer or more products.
Other types – i.e., traditional – manufacturing processes include:
Debunking Some Manufacturing Myths
Myth #1: The Pandemic and Trade Wars Will Reawaken Manufacturing
Fact: Undoubtedly, the coronavirus pandemic was a shock to the economic system of the world. However, semiconductor organizations are hoping to commence the development of brand-new chip factories in the United States even as concerns continue to grow over the heavy reliance on Asia as a reliable source of vital technology.
Despite the direction of these discussions, no evidence exists about the purported rush by organizations to kick-start operations in the U.S.
The only ‘evidence’ may be the encouragement of companies to move plants to other places in Southeast Asia. An in-depth survey showed similar development in Germany.
Myth #2: Majority of New Factories Can Only Be Found in Low-cost Countries
Fact: Industry Week considers the United States as one of the most expensive places to build a product. And even as the value of the dollar rose in the 1990s, according to a CNN article, several domestic manufacturing companies cut costs in order to find cheap labor overseas.
Nevertheless, the United States manufacturing output increased from $1.38 trillion – in 1997 – $2.18 trillion in 2017, an approximately 60 percent increase. Foreigners have also been acquiring and building factories in the U.S. much more than any other country worldwide.
For instance, foreigners invested up to $101 billion in the U.S. in 2019 in order to construct brand-new greenfield facilities. Half of the facilities were just factories, while the other half is a combination of telecom networks, power plants, as well as other infrastructure projects.
Myth #3: 3D Printing Will Transform the Rules in Manufacturing
Fact: A consultancy carried out a survey and concluded that more firms are making use of 3D printing technology, and manufacturing will no longer be the same again.
But this is nothing but hype, even though the implication will be profound. 3D printing is indeed employed for producing prototypes, limited quantities of some goods, and spare parts.
However, conventional manufacturing will remain the primary way the entire world creates most items or products for the next few decades.
Myth #4: China Produces Everything Now
Fact: China has become more popular and is often addressed as the ‘World’s Factory’ due to its robust business ecosystem, low taxes, and a total lack of regulatory compliance. The World Bank stated that China’s manufacturing out in 2019 is up to $3.9 trillion – surpassed that of any other nation.
But China is less dominant, especially if you compare that figure with the country’s immense population. The United States, within the same period, produced 2.4x the value of manufactured products, i.e., $6,564 per capita as against China’s $2,710 per person.
Switzerland produces 5.6x more per capita, Japan 3x more, and Germany 3.3x more per capita.
So, there you have it: the debunking of manufacturing process myths. As the world continues to evolve and technology continues to become more advanced, perhaps some of these discoveries may become our reality.
But until then, the manufacturing industry will continue to grind its way through, and there’s no sign that it will be scrapped anytime soon. Contact us today for your manufacturing needs!
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