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Manufacturing Processes in Metal fabrication and other Manufacturing industries

Hello! Today we will discuss the different kinds of manufacturing processes. There are many categories in manufacturing processes. So, we will learn about them all.

What is a Manufacturing Process?

All factories have thought through and chosen a manufacturing process that’s best for them, no matter the size of the company or the difficulty of its product line. Manufacturing processes are defined as “using equipment, devices, or naturally appearing reactions to turn raw materials or parts into finished goods consistently and frequently”. A manufacturing process must also have established standards such as tolerances, quality measurements, and performance metrics to keep all parts of production – including machine operation, labor, material flow, etc. – organized to achieve consistency and proficiency.

Since some may need a simple system while others require involved midstream steps such as mixing or blending, the process chosen is sometimes determined by the type of product being made. However, it is possible to see diverse manufacturing processes used in different companies or even combined in the same manufacturing company.

Different Classifications of Types of Manufacturing Processes

As I said earlier, there are many different parts to manufacturing. The results from some researchers say that there are five main categories:

1. Repetitive Manufacturing.

2. Discrete Manufacturing.

3. Job Shop Manufacturing.

4. Process Manufacturing (Continuous)

5. Process Manufacturing (Batch)

However, this looks like a mix of different classifications because the Discrete and Process manufacturing can change in the type of the product, while Job Shop is about the scale of the business, and both Process and Discrete manufacturing can be Repetitive.

There are a few different ways to approach the categorization of types of manufacturing processes:

1. By the scale of production: job-shop (individual), batch (serial), and mass production.

2. By the type of the product: discrete or process manufacturing.

3. By the level of automation: manual, machine-manual, machine, automated, complex (fully) automated.

4. By the function of the process: basic, auxiliary, serving, managerial

We’ve already determined four ways to classify the types of manufacturing processes. However, these categories also each consist of several types.

Types of Manufacturing Processes by Scale

Job-Shop Manufacturing

The job-shop production process is characterized by:

· The manufacturing of products in single copies or small series (one to two dozen per month).

· A vast collection of products.

· The usage of universal equipment, universal devices, cutting and measuring tools for overall purposes.

· Grouping of workplaces conferring to the principle of technologically homogeneous operations.

· Lack of assignment of certain operations to individual employees.

· High qualification of employees which considers the diverse nature of the work performed.

· Lack of detailed development of the technological process of manufacturing the product.

· The object of planning, regulation, accounting is the entire product or its large units (subassemblies).

· There is a relatively low cost of preparing the production of new products due to the company of the last three features.

This one-off manufacturing process is usually in pilot plants that manufacture complex products and special-purpose systems.

Batch (or serial) manufacturing

A serial production process is characterized by:

· Production in batches that are periodically repeated. About several hundred per month – small-cut; 2-5 thousand pieces per month – large-scale.

· Restricted range of products manufactured.

· Usage of universal and specialized equipment, attachments, finishing and measuring tools.

· Grouping of workplaces according to technological and organizational principles.

· A controlled number of different operations are assigned to a workplace.

· Standard qualification of employees.

· Detailed expansion of technological processes.

· Objects of planning, rationing, accounting are the units and details of the product.

· Moderately high costs for preparing the production of new products compared to a single type of production.

This style of manufacturing is typical in factories that make sophisticated products and special-purpose systems that are soon varying beyond design.

Mass production

The mass production process has the following features:

· Products are manufactured in large numbers -6-10 thousand pieces per month. It makes sense seeing its name- mass production.

· Use of special and unique equipment, devices, and tools.

· Workstations are positioned considering the course of the technological process.

· Jobs specialize in performing one operation.

· The technological process is advanced in detail.

· The planning, rationing, accounting are the details and the operations.

· Workers may be of minor qualifications.

· Preparation to generate new products requires the highest costs (in comparison with other types of production).

This type of manufacturing process is mainly used to make consumer goods.

Types of Manufacturing Processes by the Nature of the Product

Discrete manufacturing

Discrete manufacturing makes unique products different from others in the production line ahead and behind. When these items leave the production line, they are ready-to-use products that consumers and businesses can buy.

Discrete manufacturing defines any system that can create single products. At the end of a single development process, different products can be distinguished from each other, even if they were made to be identical.

The main types of discrete manufacturing are:

a) Mass-production oriented with standard pricing

MTS: Make to Stock

The Make to Stock model is mainly utilized when manufacturing consumer goods with expectable demand. However, if demand for the products is uncertain but customer’s require short lead times, it is also used there.

It is unique in comparison to the others in that it does not provide according to an order, instead following demand forecasts based on historical data. When a customer order comes in, it is satisfied by using already existing tools and materials. This quickens the lead times of an MTS operation significantly, compared to other modes of production.

The MTS model also makes the most equal products, i.e., the customer has no voice in what the orders should be like.

b) Custom-oriented with custom pricing

MTO: Make to Order

Similar to the MTS model, the MTO model deals with standardized products with clear Bills of Materials. However, unlike the MTS model, in the case of an MTO model, products are not manufactured following demand forecasts, they are made considering customer orders. Production starts when a CO is involved, making the lead times much longer than one of MTS production.

ATO – Assemble to Order

ATO means that the production line accumulates products from ready-made factors instead of producing everything from scratch according to a customer order. This enables the company to fulfill orders quickly, and to offer a certain quantity of customization choices.

This model is thought to be very flexible and lean. It allows the manufacturer to offer the customers shorter lead times than the MTO model, however, is still slower than the MTS model.

CTO – Configure to Order

The Configure to Order model gives goods depending to the conditions stated by the customer. Companies that employ the CTO model usually offer clients a collection of product features to choose from, which makes for a large number of product variations with different feature mixtures.

Similar to the MTO and ATO models, the CTO approach provides more freedom for the customers when choosing specs for their products. Thus, the CTO model enables companies to offer freedom and decision to the customer, while still being able to finish the order quickly.

Just remember that when talking about CTO, descripted changes of the normal product are not as many as to necessitate the creation of individual part numbers for every variation. However, if the difference from the average product becomes too large, it will change the category of the product completely, making it more complex and difficult. In this situation, the project will convert to an Engineer to Order, which we are about to speak about.

ETO – Engineer to Order

The Engineer to Order type is very creative and unique, but very complex. Products made using Engineer to Order are completely original and never seen before. It also allows collaborations with the customer.

Other modes of production are a much smoother process that the ETO model, since, apart from the production process, ETO models require testing and applying changes, special material obtaining processes, etc. This usually makes the order fulfillment lead time much longer than other production modes.

To provide customers with orders that are made to fit their own needs, ETO using companies must keep more flexible and suppliable than MTO, ATO, or CTO models. Heaps of adaptability in material sourcing and multiple production techniques is necessary to make fully customized products.

Process Manufacturing

Process manufacturing generates goods in bulk, meaning it uses powders, gases, liquids, granules, emulsions, grains as raw materials.

Drinks, cereals, gasoline, concrete, etc., are examples of process manufactured products.

One thing that differentiates discrete manufacturing from process manufacturing is the fact that in discrete manufacturing, parts in a product can still be separated and differentiated from one another, and products can be disassembled and pieced back down to singular components. However, with process manufacturing this is not possible as the ingredients get combined and cannot be separated anymore.

Process production can be divided into two types:

1. Process Continuous Flow manufacturing – Continuous production.

2. Process RPT / Batch manufacturing – Process Repeated Manufacturing

Types of Manufacturing Processes by Role of the Process

Production processes can be separated in the following way, according to their task in the general process of manufacturing finished products:

Auxiliary Manufacturing Processes

Auxiliary processes generate conditions for the usual course of the chief production process - creating tools for the needs of their production, mending technological gear, etc.

Basic Manufacturing Processes

Basic processes are intended to change the simple objects of labour and giving them the elements of complete products; in this case, a partial production process is associated either with the application of any stage of processing the object of labour or with the manufacture of a part of a completed product.

Managerial Processes

Managerial processes, in which decisions are developed and made, regulation and coordination of production progress, control over the precision of program employment, and analysis and accounting of work performed; these processes are often tangled with the course of production processes.

Serving Processes

Serving processes are proposed for movement (transport processes), storage pending following processing (storage), control (control operations), provision of material, technical and energy resources, and so on.

Types of Manufacturing Processes by Level of Automation

In line with the level of automation, it is normal to differentiate:

Manual Processes

Manual processes are done without using machines, power tools, and mechanisms.

Machine-Manual Processes

Machine-manual processes are achieved with the use of machines and mechanisms with the compulsory contribution of a worker. E.g., processing a part on a universal lathe.

Machine Processes

Machine processes are carried out on machine tools, mechanisms, and machines with restricted involvement from the worker.

Automated Processes

Automated processes are carried out with automatic machines, where the worker only supervises and controls the process of production.

Fully Automated Processes

In completely or complex automated processes, as well as automatic production, automatic operational control is achieved.


Thanks for reading this blog about Manufacturing Processes. I hope you have learned something new or have been inspired to explore more about this topic. Have a good day!

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