A production line is a set of sequential operations established in a
factory A factory, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an Industry (manufacturing), industrial site, often a complex consisting of several buildings filled with Outline of industrial machinery, machinery, where workers manufacturing, manufactu ...

where components are assembled to make a finished article or where materials are put through a
refining {{Unreferenced, date=December 2009 Refining (also perhaps called by the mathematical term affining) is the process of purification of a (1) substance Substance may refer to: * Substance (Jainism), a term in Jain ontology to denote the base or owner ...
process to produce an end-product that is suitable for onward consumption Typically,
raw material A raw material, also known as a feedstock, unprocessed material, or primary commodity, is a basic material that is used to produce goods, finished Product (business), products, energy, or intermediate materials that are feedstock for future finis ...
s such as
metal A metal (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...

ore ore – psilomelane Psilomelane is a group name for hard black manganese oxides including hollandite and romanechite. Psilomelane consists of hydrous manganese Manganese is a chemical element Image:Simple Periodic Table Chart- ...

s or
agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching tele ...

products such as foodstuffs or
textile A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibres, suitable for use in the production of textiles, sewing, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, ...

source plants like
cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of s ...

flax Flax, also known as common flax or linseed, is a flowering plant Flowering plants include multiple members of the clade Angiospermae (), commonly called angiosperms. The term "angiosperm" is derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may ...

require a sequence of treatments to render them useful. For metal, the processes include crushing,
smelting Smelting is a process of applying heat to ore in order to extract a base metal. It is a form of extractive metallurgy. It is used to extract many metals from their ores, including Silver mining#Ore processing, silver, iron-making, iron, copper ...
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 Physics is the that studies , its , its and behavior through , and the related entities of and . "Physical science is that department of knowledge which relates to the order of nature, or, in other words, to the regula ...

, with
wind mill A windmill is a structure that converts wind power Wind power or wind energy is the use of wind to provide mechanical power through wind turbines to turn electric generators for electrical power. Wind power is a popular sustainable ene ...
s and
water mill A watermill or water mill is a mill that uses hydropower Hydropower (from el, ὕδωρ, "water"), also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water to Electricity generation, produce electricity or to power machines. T ...

water mill
s providing
power Power most often refers to: * Power (physics) In physics, power is the amount of energy In , energy is the that must be to a or to perform on the body, or to it. Energy is a ; the law of states that energy can be in form, bu ...
for the crude heavy processes and
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, manufacturing plant or a production plant is an Industry (manufacturing), industrial site, often a complex consisting of several buildings filled with Outline of industrial machinery, machinery, where workers manufacturing, manufactu ...

as exemplified by the
cotton mill A cotton mill is a building that houses spinning Spin or spinning may refer to: Businesses * SPIN (cable system) SPIN (or South Pacific Island Network) was a submarine communications cable, submarine communications cable system that would c ...

cotton mill
s of
Richard Arkwright Sir Richard Arkwright (23 December 1732 – 3 August 1792) was an English inventor and a leading entrepreneur during the early Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great ...

Richard Arkwright
, started the move towards co-locating individual processes.

Introduction of the steam engine

With the development of the
steam engine from Stott Park Bobbin Mill, Cumbria, England A steam engine is a heat engine In thermodynamics Thermodynamics is a branch of physics that deals with heat, Work (thermodynamics), work, and temperature, and their relation to energ ...

steam engine
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 is any physical system with ordered structural and functional properties. It may represent human-made or naturally occurring device molecular machine A molecular machine, nanite, or nanomachine is a molecular component that produc ...

ry to supplant the use of people, the integrated use of techniques in production lines spurred the
industrial revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe Continental Europe or mainland Europe is the contiguous continent A continent is any of several large landmasse ...
s of
Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of scienc ...

North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical regions are commonly regarded as continen ...

North America

Assembly line

Thus, from the processing of raw materials into useful goods, the next step was the concept of the
assembly line
assembly line
, as introduced by
Eli Whitney Eli Whitney Jr. (December 8, 1765January 8, 1825) was an American inventor, widely known for inventing the cotton gin in Hamden, Connecticut Hamden is a New England town, town in New Haven County, Connecticut, New Haven County, Connecticut, ...
. This was taken to the next stage at the
Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company (commonly known as Ford) is an American multinational corporation, multinational automobile manufacturer headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, Dearborn, Michigan, United States. It was founded by Henry Ford and incorporated ...
in 1913, where
Henry Ford Henry Ford (July 30, 1863 – April 7, 1947) was an American industrialist A business magnate is someone who has achieved great success and enormous wealth through the ownership of multiple lines of enterprise. The term characteristicall ...

Henry Ford
introduced the innovation of continuously moving the cars being assembled past individual workstations. This introduced the idea of standardization. The assembly line was a contraption of many chains and links that moved to place different parts into various places throughout the car. The chassis of the car was moved along the 45-metre line by a chain conveyor and then 140 workers applied their assigned parts to the chassis. Other workers brought additional parts to the car builders to keep them stocked. The assembly line decreased the assembly time per vehicle. The production time for a single car dropped from over twelve hours to just 93 minutes.

See also

Conveyor A conveyor system is a common piece of mechanical handling equipment that moves materials from one location to another. Conveyors are especially useful in applications involving the transport of heavy or bulky materials. Conveyor systems allow ...

* József Galamb *
Mass production Mass production, also known as flow production or continuous production, is the production of substantial amounts of standardized Standardization or standardisation is the process of implementing and developing technical standard A techni ...
Pilot plant A pilot plant is a pre-commercial production system that employs new production technology and/or produces small volumes of new technology-based products, mainly for the purpose of learning about the new technology. The knowledge obtained is then u ...

External links

production line
- examples
production line
- examples {{DEFAULTSORT:Production Line Industrial Revolution
Manufacturing Manufacturing is the transformation of raw materials into finished goods for sale, or intermediate processes involving the production or finishing of semi-manufactures. {{Cat main, Manufacturing Production and manufacturing ...
Mass production de:Fließbandfertigung