Production techniques and systems

  • Created by: IzzyB1
  • Created on: 16-04-19 11:14

Benefits of automation

  • faster, fewer mistakes, more efficient
  • production lines flow more easily
  • manual labour - bespoke, low volume, high cost items
  • PDM (Product Data Management) - complex software systems that have an overview of many aspects of production
  • PDM reduces mistakes, everyone working together, accurate costing and forecasting of production progress
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CAD - computer aided design

  • software used to create precision 2D or 3D drawings, models and technical drawings
  • post processing - software in CAM machines which allows you to convert the CAD file into the language that the machine understands

Advantages of CAD

  • designs altered easily
  • saves money and time
  • designs easily saved, kept and archived
  • designs can be sent by email
  • designs can be worked on by teams simultaneously

Disadvantages of CAD

  • software complex to learn
  • software can be expensive
  • compatibility issues with software
  • security issues
  • software needs regular updates
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CAM - computer aided manufacturing

  • automated machinery controlled by software to manufacture physical parts
  • CNC (computer numerical control) machines - laser cutter, 3D printer, CNC router, vinyl cutter

Advantages of CAM

  • faster than traditional machines and tools
  • more accurate that rtraditional methods
  • high repetitve accuracy
  • machines run 24/7
  • can produce work directly from CAD files

Disadvantages of CAM

  • expensive set up costs
  • training costs and time
  • CAM machines need specialist engineers when they need maintaining or repairing
  • CAM machines can do work that is traditionally done by skilled workers and has led to unemployment
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CNC milling and CNC laser cutting

CNC miling

  • work in 3D to produce intricate and accurate objects
  • cuts metals

CNC laser cutting

  • burn through to etch surface of material
  • paper, polymers, timber metals, textile materials
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FMS - flexible manufacturing systems

  • involve an assembly of automated machines commonly used on short-run batch production lines where products frequently change
  • easily recalibrated, reprogrammed and retooled
  • CNC machines frequently used in FMS
  • easily reprogrammable, make changes quickly, simple and cost effective
  • allows manufacturers to respond quickly to fluctuations in the market and consumer demands
  • robot arms are used becasue they can be reprogrammed to perform many tasks
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Lean manufacturing

  • based on an ethos of eliminating wate in manufacture and overburden
  • many responsible manufacturers adopt this principle to save money and resources
  • grown popular as manufacturers across the world are cutting down on the waste they produce
  • to do this they have to change the way they operate
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JIT - just in time

  • items are created as they are demanded
  • no surplus stock of raw materials, component or finished parts are kept
  • someone needs to regulate it - may be a large order
  • arrives as you need it, leaves as you finish it
  • ensures that customers get the right product at the right time at the right price
  • many companies seek to make constant improvements to their systems 
  • they reward employees if they find ways to cut waste even further
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Advantages and disadvantages of JIT


  • products are made to order so no products need storing whilst waiting to be sold
  • money not tied up in unsold stock
  • orders often secured on a deposit or full payment, so money is in the bank before material and production costs
  • stock does not become old or out of date
  • almost all waste is reused or recycled, meaning there is little or no landfill waste produced


  • relies on high quality, fast and reliable supply chain for raw materials and components
  • all production could stop if supply chain breaks down
  • some stock is not ready to be purchased off the shelf: some consumers prefer not to wait at all and sales could be lost
  • usually a deposit or the whole cost of the product needs to be paid upfront - could be offputting for some consumers
  • discounts from suppliers for bulk purchasing of materials may not be available
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