Assembly line is a manufacturing process that breaks the manufacture of a product or good into steps in a pre-defined sequence so that the good or product can be completed. This manufacturing process is generally used in mass production of products and more particularly associated with automobile manufacturing. It reduces labor costs because the company will not be needing skilled workers to perform specific tasks. Unskilled workers can be easily trained to complete a vehicle engine or a whole piece of furniture. They can hire a worker whose only job is to add a bolt to a machine or a leg to a stool.
Modern manufacturing also employs robots to attach parts to a product or good.
Principles of Assembly Lines
- Tools and workers are placed in specific sequence of the operation so that each component part will travel the least possible distance during the process of completion.
- Work slides or any form of carrier must be used so that after a worker completes his particular work, the unfinished product moves to the next worker.
- Sliding assembling lines are used so that the parts to be assembled are delivered at the most convenient distances.
Assembly Line Methods
- Modular Assembly – This is a more advanced method of assembly line designed to increase the efficiency of parallel subassembly lines feeding into the final assembly line. This is particular used in automobile manufacturing which involves separate modules such as interior, body and chassis. These modules have their own assembly lines and joined together in a final assembly line.
- Cell Manufacturing – This method has increased the ability of machines to do multiple tasks. Cell operators perform three or four tasks and robots are used to operations such as welding and materials handling. Cells of machines can be run by only one operator or a work cell could be composed of many workers.
- Team Production – In this method team of workers can follow a job down the assembly line until it reaches the final quality checks. This method creates greater worker involvement in the knowledge of system and process of manufacturing.
- U-Shaped Assembly Line – This method places the workers in the inside of a U-shaped or curve line. It makes communication between workers easier and they can see each process, what is coming and how fast. Workstations along the curve will be able to produce designs simultaneously, thus there is more flexibility in the facility.