It was more than 100 years ago when Henry Ford introduced the first assembly line. Little did he know then that this innovation would revolutionise the world of mass production and change it forever.
The Dawn of the Conveyor Belt
Make no mistake. Ford wasn’t the first man to use the conveyor belt. It was in the late 18th century when primitive belts made of leathers transported bulk materials in rail yard and mining industries.
But it was his assembly line process that sped things up considerably. With this process, he was able to produce cars faster and cheaper than ever before. Every other mass industry facility in the world copied and improved this process, eventually bringing it to the shores of the 21st century.
Fast Forward to 2015
Although technology has long improved Ford’s idea, the principle remains the same. Today, assembly lines still have a conveyor and stations where designated tasks are accomplished. But of course, the speed and precision of modern conveyor belts have gone far beyond Ford’s wildest imagination.
As the demand for cars and manufactured goods continues to rise, producers are met with a challenge to keep up and make assembly lines more capable and efficient.
The modern conveyor components are so much more now than what they used to be. Robotics entered the picture and specialised machines do much of what used to be man’s work.
With the utilisation of computerised and laser guidance systems, manufacturing facilities are able to produce materials faster, smaller, cheaper and more precise than ever. Bear in mind that people are still needed to perform other tasks, such as tedious sorting and quality control.
Advanced logistical coordination and adaptability are key factors to enhance the effectivity in manufacturing processes. Constructing an automobile can be a collaboration of multi-national companies due to varying origins of parts, yet many factories can accomplish retooling in less than a month. Modern conveyor belts and their efficiency are the very solutions that make this possible.
Apart from automobile production, the modern conveyor belt is used in many other industries: mining, pharmaceutical, agriculture, food processing and so many more. Considering where it has taken us now, imagine how much farther it will transport us in the future.