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The Different Types of Manufacturing Processes That Exist Today

The US manufacturing steady is worth a staggering $6 trillion and accounts for about 11% of the country’s economic output. With so much money to make, even small business owners are inching in for a piece of the $6 trillion pie.

The entry of small businesses in the manufacturing sector is proof that the manufacturing industry is evolving. Technological advancements have seen the entry of cost-effective manufacturing techniques.

Are you looking to get into the manufacturing business? It’s important to know the different types of manufacturing processes that exist. That way, you can make a more informed decision on what manufacturing technique suits your particular needs.

Today, we’ll be looking at the different types of manufacturing methods that exist today.

Repetitive Manufacturing

This is a manufacturing process centered on creating the same product or component all day, every day. It’s the most basic form of manufacturing where you churn out the same product on an assembly line. There’s little chance to the manufacturing process, and manufacturers can commit to a specific production rate.

This manufacturing technique is ideal for mass production. It’s a staple for industries dealing in:

  • Automotive parts
  • Consumer goods
  • Semiconductors
  • Electronics

One trait that all the above products share is that their final versions are stable and predictable. One specific automotive part has to have similar specifications across the board. The assembly line will remain the same save for minor changes once in a while.

Repetitive manufacturing premises on master plans. Manufacturers use them for a particular period and quantity. It’s excellent for high-volume production for in-stock products.

Discrete Manufacturing

Discrete manufacturing isn’t very different from repetitive manufacturing. Both manufacturing methods center on assembly lines for mass production. However, the final products of discrete manufacturing vary considerably.

This type of manufacturing allows frequent changeovers and modifications. Companies can opt for different styles, sizes and make other minor modifications. Of course, every changeover necessitates a different assembly line configuration.

This ends up taking more time and is more expensive than repetitive manufacturing. In some cases, the modification may include the removal of some segments of the original prototypes. This type of manufacturing is common with automobile manufacturers and medical device assembly.

Continuous Process Manufacturing

Continuous process manufacturing is pretty similar to repetitive manufacturing. However, unlike repetitive manufacturing, continuous process manufacturing focuses on raw materials. By raw materials, we’re talking gases, powder, and liquid.

This is a manufacturing method popular with food products like peanut butter and tomato sauce. It’s also a staple for the oil refining and metal smelting industry. Continuous process manufacturing is popular with industries like:

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Fertilizer manufacturing
  • Food products
  • Power stations

All of the above create the same products repeatedly. However, they only use raw materials for the manufacturing process.

Job Shop Manufacturing

Job shop manufacturing is different from all the manufacturing methods we’ve discussed above. That’s because, unlike the others, job shop manufacturing doesn’t require assembly lines. Instead, it involves production areas like workshops and workstations.

Job shop manufacturing is a systemic and step-by-step manufacturing method. The product must go through one production area before proceeding to the next.

A good example of job shop manufacturing is creating a work desk. One workstation will be responsible for sawing the lumber. Another workstation will take charge of cutting and polishing the lumber.

There will be another station for assembling the parts and a final one for applying varnish. Ultimately, you’ll get a sturdy and polished work desk ready for use.

Rapid prototyping and CAD software has enabled fast production. They handle workflow and production.

Batch Process Manufacturing

As the name suggests, batch manufacturing is a manufacturing type that occurs in batches. The manufacturer produces the goods in batches to meet the current demand. Companies must produce one batch before they can move to the next.

Once companies finish producing one batch, the machines remain dormant and go through thorough cleaning. This is in preparation for the next batch’s production. It’s somewhat similar to continuous process manufacturing because it only utilizes raw materials.

A perfect example of batch process manufacturing is a sauce manufacturing company. Here’s how it works

The company will create a batch of tomato sauce for a specific client. The same company might receive an order for barbeque sauce from a different client. After finishing the tomato sauce batch, the company proceeds with the barbeque sauce.

3D Printing

3D printing is among the newer technologies in the manufacturing sector. Although introduced in the 1980s, 3D printing is slowly gaining traction with modern companies. The method uses 3D printers to create three-dimensional items based on a digital model.

These printers use plastic composite or molten metal to create physical versions of digital models. Most companies are yet to pick up 3D printing because of its inherent costliness. However, technological advancement may see 3D printing becoming more affordable to smaller companies.

3D printing is ideal for the manufacture of items like:

  • Prosthetics
  • Musical instruments
  • Toys
  • Building models and car prototypes

3D printing is still a long way from becoming mainstream. However, given the pace of technological advancements, companies will soon get on the 3D printing wave.

Traditional Forms of Manufacturing

All the modern forms of manufacturing are the amalgamation of traditional manufacturing types. Although they’re unsuitable for large-scale manufacturing, they still work like a charm. Traditional manufacturing forms include:

  • Casting
  • Machining
  •  Joining

The above processes form the building blocks of modern manufacturing.

Different Types of Manufacturing Processes Made Easy

Now that you know the various types of manufacturing processes, it’s on you to pick one that suits your venture. Remember, the quality of your manufacturing is only as good as the raw materials, equipment, and personnel. Invest in quality equipment and raw materials for the best results.

Don’t forget to check out the other posts for more informative content.

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