Browse Definitions:
Definition

assembly line

An assembly line is a production methodology that breaks a process down into discrete steps that are executed in an iterative manner. Assembly line production has its roots in manufacturing and is often associated with Henry Ford and the mass production of automobiles.

Ford’s inspiration for moving to a continuous-flow production methodology likely came from several food-related industries, but is often credited to his observation of how disassembly lines were used in the meatpacking industry at the turn of last century. Ford observed that workers in meat plants remained in a stationary position performing the same small task over and over, while the product – in this case, an animal carcass – did the moving. Because workers were only responsible for one small task, plant managers could hire unskilled workers and when necessary, replace them quite easily.

As a result of what he learned, Henry Ford and his managers changed how Ford automobiles were manufactured and used four guiding principles to reduce manufacturing costs:

  • Create a division of labor
  • Reduce wasted effort
  • Use interchangeable parts
  • Manufacture in a continuous flow

In 1908, the Ford Motor Company introduced the moving assembly line and successfully reduced production time for a single car from over 12 hours to just 93 minutes. The change in manufacturing also process significantly decreased the assembly time per vehicle and increased the profit margin for each car.

Ford's manufacturing principles have been adopted by countless other industries. Today, assembly lines are common methods of assembling complex items such as transportation equipment, household appliances and electronic goods. Assembly lines and the manufacturing industry continue to evolve with technological innovations like labor automation3-D printing and machine learning

This was last updated in February 2017

Continue Reading About assembly line

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

SearchSecurity

  • copyright

    Copyright is a legal term describing ownership of control of the rights to the use and distribution of certain works of creative ...

  • keylogger (keystroke logger or system monitor)

    A keylogger, sometimes called a keystroke logger or system monitor, is a type of surveillance technology used to monitor and ...

  • password

    A password is an unspaced sequence of characters used to determine that a computer user requesting access to a computer system is...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • call tree

    A call tree -- sometimes referred to as a phone tree -- is a telecommunications chain for notifying specific individuals of an ...

  • mass notification system (MNS)

    A mass notification system is a platform that sends one-way messages to inform employees and the public of an emergency.

SearchStorage

  • CompactFlash card (CF card)

    A CompactFlash card (CF card) is a memory card format developed by SanDisk in 1994 that uses flash memory technology to store ...

  • email archiving

    Email archiving (also spelled e-mail archiving) is a systematic approach to saving and protecting the data contained in email ...

  • RAID (redundant array of independent disks)

    RAID (redundant array of independent disks) is a way of storing the same data in different places on multiple hard disks to ...

SearchSolidStateStorage

  • M.2 SSD

    An M.2 SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to a computer industry specification written for internally mounted storage...

  • NVMe (non-volatile memory express)

    NVMe (non-volatile memory express) is a host controller interface and storage protocol to enable a solid-state drive to use the ...

  • SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID)

    SSD RAID (solid-state drive RAID) is a methodology commonly used to protect data by distributing redundant data blocks across ...

SearchCloudStorage

  • RESTful API

    A RESTful application program interface breaks down a transaction to create a series of small modules, each of which addresses an...

  • cloud storage infrastructure

    Cloud storage infrastructure is the hardware and software framework that supports the computing requirements of a private or ...

  • Zadara VPSA and ZIOS

    Zadara Storage provides block, file or object storage with varying levels of compute and capacity through its ZIOS and VPSA ...

Close