The manufacturing industry is at the very heart of our society, and without it, we would simply grind to a halt. Everything that we use, wear and eat has its origins in manufacturing, and this is why over the years technological advancements in this industry have had such a profound effect on the world. Today we are going to take a look at some of the equipment which has radically shaped the way in which we manufacture products, both now and throughout history.
The Spinning Jenny was one of the greatest advancements made during the industrial revolution, and it helped to shape the way in which cloth was produced. Invented by James Hargreaves the machine is a multi-spindle spinning frame which allows for higher volumes of cloth to be spun at one time. The Spinning Jenny greatly reduced the amount of work which was required to create cloth and therefore reduced costs and increased output.
The world relies heavily on steel in order to build structures, create machinery and produce vehicles to name just a few of its uses. The Bessemer Process was the very first process which we saw that was able to mass produce steel in an efficient and high-quality way. The principle of this process is the removal of impurities which are found in pig iron; it does so using an oxidation process which was the first of its kind. The patent on the process was taken out in 1856, and even modern-day processes use the Bessemer approach, albeit in a more advanced way.
We often think of factories and manufacturing plants as having production lines with conveyor belts carrying loads throughout the entirety of the manufacturing process, and its invention in 1892 by Thomas Robins revolutionized manufacturing on the whole. These automatic rollers instantly sped up production and reduced the size of the workload helping companies to produce quicker and spend less time and money on the manufacturing process. Conveyor belts haven’t changed too drastically since their inception and many companies today still rely heavily on vendors like conveyorrollers.com for their manufacturing needs.
By the late 1980s, computers began to feature far more heavily in the manufacturing process and as the early 90s approached we saw a huge number of smart machines being produced. In a factory setting, for example, these machines could carry out a number of tasks which could be changed with a flick of a switch. Computer-based machines enabled the manufacturing industry to become more automated which helped with quality control, the speed of processes and increased the capability of the manufacturer.
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The very first 3D printers were seen in 1981, but it wasn’t until around 2010 that they became sophisticated enough that we would see them used in manufacturing. These printers are able to print products at high speed and with great quality and precision using a huge range of materials. The technology is gaining pace, and in recent years we have even seen full-scale houses being ‘printed out.’ This advancement has already changed many areas of the industry, and it is generally considered to be the future of manufacturing.