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Design & Technology

Industrial practices

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There are four main types of industrial production - one-off, batch, mass and continuous flow production - which have progressively larger scales of operation. CAD [CAD: Stands for Computer-Aided Design - the use of computers to assist in any of the phases of product design. ] and CAM [CAM: Stands for Computer-Aided Manufacturing - the use of computers to assist in any of the phases of manufacturing a product. ] are now important in virtually every type of commercial design and production.

Industrial production methods

There are four main types of industrial production methods:

  • One-off production is when only one product is made at a time. Every product is different so it is labour intensive. Products may be made by hand or a combination of hand and machine methods.
  • Batch production is when a small quantity of identical products are made. Batch production may also be labour intensive, but jigs and templates are used to aid production. Batches of the product can be made as often as required. The machines can be easily changed to produce a batch of a different product.
  • Mass production is when hundreds of identical products are made, usually on a production line. Mass production often involves the assembly of a number of sub-assemblies of individual components. Parts may be bought from other companies. There is usually some automation of tasks (eg by using Computer Numerical Control [CNC: Stands for Computer Numerical Control - the use of computers to control cutting and shaping machines. A key CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) technique. ] machines) and this enables a smaller number of workers to output more products.
  • Continuous flow production is when many thousands of identical products are made. The difference between this and mass production is that the production line is kept running 24 hours a day, seven days a week to maximise production and eliminate the extra costs of starting and stopping the production process. The process is highly automated and few workers are required.

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