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In class we have been involved in one-off production. We designed our product and then made one item.
In general one-off products are handmade and are labour intensive. The products are often very expensive because of this.

An example of one-off production is in the manufacture of jewellery and furniture. Specialised control systems are sometimes required for a particular application in a factory. A good example at this time is the ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) that is trying to plug the hole in the oil pipe deep under the ocean in the Mexican Gulf.

One-off Production

A batch is a certain amount of identical products that are manufactured at a particular time. A batch can be small or into the scale of thousands of products. Once one batch has been completed the next product can be started.

An example is the manufacture of security and fire alarm systems. A company may manufacture 1000 of one model, stop, and then start manufacturing 1000 of another model.
 

 

Batch Production

This type of production is involved in the manufacture of very large numbers of consumer electronics. Examples are televisions, iPods and digital cameras and cars.

Parts of the product are manufactured along a production line until they are put together and the product is finished.

The factories and machines involved in mass production are extremely expensive, but since the factories can produce millions of products the cost is recovered over time.


 

 

Mass Production

The first diagram below shows a standard manufacturing method. The manufacture holds supplies of materials and components awaiting an order from a client. Finished products are then stored ready for dispatch to their clients.

 

The disadvantages of this system are that the manufacturer needs to hold a stock of components that may not necessarily be used in the future. If an order falls through the manufacturer could be left with a stock of unwanted and expensive components. Also the components that have been bought need to be stored somewhere. Storage space is expensive and stores need managing correctly.

 

Stock Control
Delivery of components
from suppliers
Storage of components
Manufacture of product
Storage of finished products
Shipping of products to client
Just In Time Production (JIT)
Manufacturer orders and receives components from suppliers
Products
are
manufactured

Products shipped
to client
Client’s order
received

In this system components are ordered just in time for the product to be manufactured before they are sent out to the client.  This has the advantage that no warehouse space is required therefore reducing costs. A disadvantage is that if the supplier can’t supply the components on time then the factory may have to stop making the product, incurring costs and disappointing customers. If the system is managed properly however then it can be a highly efficient system.

 

The diagram below shows a JIT system

Continuous Production

In this system the same product is manufactured constantly, day and night, and often for years at a time! Examples of these are drinks bottles, cans and nuts and botls.

A drinks bottle production line