Production line
A production line is a set of sequential operations established in a factory
A factory or manufacturing plant is an industrial building where laborers manufacture goods or supervise machines processing one product into another. Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production...

 whereby materials are put through a refining
Refining is the process of purification of a substance or a form. The term is usually used of a natural resource that is almost in a usable form, but which is more useful in its pure form. For instance, most types of natural petroleum will burn straight from the ground, but it will burn poorly...

 process to produce an end-product that is suitable for onward consumption; or components are assembled to make a finished article.

Typically, raw
Raw is a term referring to food that has not been cooked.RAW or raw may refer to:-Technology:* Raw audio format, a file type used to represent sound as pulse-code modulation data...

 materials such as metal
A metal , is an element, compound, or alloy that is a good conductor of both electricity and heat. Metals are usually malleable and shiny, that is they reflect most of incident light...

An ore is a type of rock that contains minerals with important elements including metals. The ores are extracted through mining; these are then refined to extract the valuable element....

s or agricultural
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 products such as foodstuffs or textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

 source plants (cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, flax
Flax is a member of the genus Linum in the family Linaceae. It is native to the region extending from the eastern Mediterranean to India and was probably first domesticated in the Fertile Crescent...

) require a sequence of treatments to render them useful. For metal, the processes include crushing, smelting
Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a metal from its ore. This includes iron extraction from iron ore, and copper extraction and other base metals from their ores...

 and further refining. For plants, the useful material has to be separated from husks or contaminants and then treated for onward sale.


Early production processes were constrained by the availability of a source of energy
In physics, energy is an indirectly observed quantity. It is often understood as the ability a physical system has to do work on other physical systems...

, with wind mills and water mills providing power
Power (physics)
In physics, power is the rate at which energy is transferred, used, or transformed. For example, the rate at which a light bulb transforms electrical energy into heat and light is measured in watts—the more wattage, the more power, or equivalently the more electrical energy is used per unit...

 for the crude heavy processes and manpower
Manpower may refer to:*Human resourcesOrganizations:*Manpower Inc., an international employment agency, headquartered in the United States*Manpower Incorporated, a criminal enterprise in the Honor Harrington science fiction series...

 being used for activities requiring more precision. In earlier centuries, with raw materials, power and people often being in different locations, production was distributed across a number of sites. The concentration of numbers of people in manufactories, and later the factory
A factory or manufacturing plant is an industrial building where laborers manufacture goods or supervise machines processing one product into another. Most modern factories have large warehouses or warehouse-like facilities that contain heavy equipment used for assembly line production...

 as exemplified by the cotton mill
Cotton mill
A cotton mill is a factory that houses spinning and weaving machinery. Typically built between 1775 and 1930, mills spun cotton which was an important product during the Industrial Revolution....

s of Richard Arkwright
Richard Arkwright
Sir Richard Arkwright , was an Englishman who, although the patents were eventually overturned, is often credited for inventing the spinning frame — later renamed the water frame following the transition to water power. He also patented a carding engine that could convert raw cotton into yarn...

, started the move towards co-locating individual processes.

Introduction of the steam engine

With the development of the steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

 in the latter half of the 18th century, the production elements became less reliant on the location of the power source, and so the processing of goods moved to either the source of the materials or the location of people to perform the tasks. Separate processes for different treatment stages were brought into the same building, and the various stages of refining or manufacture were combined.

Industrial revolution

With increasing use of steam power, and increasing use of machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

ry to supplant the use of people, the integrated use of techniques in production lines spurred the industrial revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

s of Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 and the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...


United States

It wasn't until the implementation and mass production techniques that the US was able to pass the output/capita of the rest of the world. Much of this growth can be similarly attributed to taking advantage of numerous natural resources and raw materials through legislation and laws. And therefore in 1910, the US growth surpassed that of Britain. (Industrial output/worker)

Assembly line

Thus, from the processing of raw materials into useful goods, the next step was the concept of the assembly line
Assembly line
An assembly line is a manufacturing process in which parts are added to a product in a sequential manner using optimally planned logistics to create a finished product much faster than with handcrafting-type methods...

, as introduced by Eli Whitney
Eli Whitney
Eli Whitney was an American inventor best known for inventing the cotton gin. This was one of the key inventions of the Industrial Revolution and shaped the economy of the Antebellum South...

. This was taken to the next stage at the Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company
Ford Motor Company is an American multinational automaker based in Dearborn, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit. The automaker was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated on June 16, 1903. In addition to the Ford and Lincoln brands, Ford also owns a small stake in Mazda in Japan and Aston Martin in the UK...

 in 1913, where Henry Ford
Henry Ford
Henry Ford was an American industrialist, the founder of the Ford Motor Company, and sponsor of the development of the assembly line technique of mass production. His introduction of the Model T automobile revolutionized transportation and American industry...

introduced the innovation of continuously moving the cars being assembled past individual work stations. This introduced the idea of standardisation.

External links

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