Despite the depth of knowledge and manufacturing experience, many engineers fail to enlist the types of manufacturing environments in their facility. Traditionally speaking, there have been five distinct types of manufacturing processes. How many manufacturing environments a facility employs depends on the way products are being produced there. More than one manufacturing processes are often used to produce a single product. Let’s take a look at the 5 basic manufacturing environments:
Considering the growing market demands and the need for operational efficiency, companies implement dedicated production lines that produce the same product or a family of a product. Companies often produce families of a product all year long. Such manufacturing environments involve repetitive processes. The speed of operations is adjusted in accordance with the demands of the product. Repetitive production processes require minimal changeover or setup.
Discrete processing is a highly diverse environment that also involves a production line process. The discrete way of manufacturing often requires frequent setups and changeovers. The frequencies of changeovers and setups depend on the products: the production of alike products requires fewer changeovers while unlike products lead to time-consuming and unproductive tear-down time and setups.
3. Job shops
A job shop is a manufacturing process in which a variety of custom products are produced. Most products made in the job shop process flow requires a unique setup. Job shops produce custom parts for other businesses. A machine tool shop, a paint shop, a printing shop, or a manufacturer that make custom products are some of the examples of job shops. They often deal with small production runs.
Modern facilities where products are produced in batches through a repetitive process use automated manufacturing technologies to improve operational efficiency and reduce the role of humans which ultimately leads to reduced production costs.
Continuous manufacturing processes run 24/7 all the time. Powders, gases, and liquids are the production materials used in the continuous process. Materials can be chunky or granular in case of mining.
This type of manufacturing is analogous to job shop and discrete. Each batch is analyzed and some changes are made to the original formulation. One or several batches can be produced based on the requirements. The significance of continuous batch processes increases when the raw materials can’t be made to a strict standard.
In today’s competitive environment, it’s imperative to utilize innovative manufacturing techniques and technologies to stay ahead of the curve no matter the nature of the manufacturing processes.