Topic 5: Product development
5.1 Manufacturing techniques
Define manufacturing technique.
Outline the techniques of moulding, casting, weaving, fusing, stitching, cutting, machining, abrading, using adhesives and using fasteners.
The principles of each technique are required.
Describe how the techniques in 5.1.2 relate to different materials.
For example, casting relates to metals, plastics, food, ceramics and some composites, but not to timber or textiles.
Discuss advantages and disadvantages of using the techniques to manufacture products.
Refer to the viewpoints of the manufacturer and the user.
5.2 Craft production
Define craft production and one-off production.
Describe why most products were manufactured by craft techniques prior to the Industrial Revolution.
Refer to the development of skills; sources of materials and energy; sales and distribution; relationship of craftsman or designer with client or consumer.
Explain the advantages and disadvantages of craft production.
Consider economies of scale, value of the product, labour, market forces and flexibility of manufacture.
Discuss the importance of craft production for developed and developing countries.
Economic development, infrastructure and market needs should be considered, but also the rise of the “master craftsman” in industrialized countries.
Describe how the availability of new sources of power in the Industrial Revolution led to the introduction of mechanization.
Refer to water and steam power.
Define assembly-line production.
Explain the relevance of assembly-line production to mechanization.
Refer to economics, design of products, effect on the workforce and consumer choice.
Outline two advantages and two disadvantages of mechanizing a production process.
Consider cost, quality of product, social conditions and labour.
Define batch production and mass production.
Compare batch production and mass production in a mechanized production system.
Consider market needs, consumer choice, product differentiation and economies of scale.
Describe how the development of computer and information technology in the “technological revolution” led to the introduction of automation.
Refer also to the importance of electricity.
Define computer-aided manufacture (CAM) and computer numerical control (CNC).
Explain how CAD, CAM and CNC contribute to an automated production system.
Consider the wide variety of systems available.
Define just-in-time (JIT) and just-in-case (JIC).
Explain the advantages of JIT and JIC to manufacturing.
Refer to reliability, efficiency, distribution, workforce, storage, capital investment, stock control and traditions.
Define mass customization.
Outline how mass customization is changing the relationship between the manufacturer and the consumer.
The relationship is akin to craft production, where the individual requirements of the consumer dominate.
Discuss the impact of automation on working conditions.
Consider nature and type of employment, health and safety issues, social interaction and job satisfaction.
Outline how automation has improved the type and range of products available to consumers.
Many products require such precision in their manufacture that, without automation, it would not be possible to produce them at an affordable price.
5.5 Economic considerations
List the costs that contribute to the final cost of a product.
Take into account scale of production, complexity of product, resources, skills, quality control, size and weight of product for storage and distribution, type of advertising and marketing, profits and taxes. Include costs relating to availability and procurement of materials, R&D, labour, manufacturing costs, capital costs, overheads, distribution and sales.
Define fixed costs and variable costs.
Identify the factors in 5.5.1 as fixed costs or variable costs.
Explain how the costs in 5.5.1 relate to craft production, mechanization and automation.
For example, raw materials and labour costs will be significant for an individually crafted mahogany table, but for an injection-moulded plastic component these costs would be low and the capital cost of machinery high.
Explain the concept of “break-even point” in relation to fixed and variable costs.
Once “break-even” point is reached, profits can be made, because fixed costs have been covered. Variable costs will continue to rise with increased production.
5.6 Clean manufacturing
Explain why the introduction of mass production increased damage to the natural environment.
A historical perspective is important. Environmental considerations were not an issue in the 18th and 19th centuries. Little quantitative data was available, and all governments encouraged the growth of industry.
Outline the reasons for cleaning up manufacturing.
Reasons include promoting positive impacts, ensuring neutral impact or minimizing negative impacts through conserving natural resources, reducing pollution and use of energy, and reducing wastage of energy and resources.
Outline that an initial response to reducing emission of pollutants is adding clean-up technologies to the end of the manufacturing process.
The addition of clean-up technologies to the end of the manufacturing process is termed the “end-of-pipe” approach.
Explain how legislation provides an impetus to manufacturers to clean up manufacturing processes.
State that the legislation can be policed by monitoring through the collection of quantitative data.
Explain that strategies for cleaning up manufacturing are mainly reactive, and that more radical approaches require a rethink of the whole system and may result in significant product and/or process modification or radically new technologies.
Many companies react to legislation or impending legislation by doing the minimum required. More radical approaches, for example, life cycle analysis, are proactive (see “Topic 3: Green design”).
Explain that targets for reducing pollution and waste from industry are agreed internationally, but not all industrial nations agree to the targets.
Explore the difficulties of stating targets against the background of ever-changing social, political and economic changes.