Posts tagged Key Terms

Production Systems

When goods are produced to meet individual customer’s needs it is known as Custom Production. 

In this system, craftsman (many times just one person)  produces one item at a time by hand or by machine. If machines are used in this system, they are often highly specialized, and capable of producing only a single line of merchandise. This system offers the lowest level of efficiency and highest cost per unit, and results in very low levels of production.

A couple of examples are:

  • A tailored suit or a wedding dress which is custom fitted
  • A custom motorcycle (made to the customers specifications)
  • A custom shoe that is measured to fit your foot.


Here are some examples of Custom Production:



When goods are produced where there are stops and starts or switching out of product on the same production line it is known as Intermittent Production. 

Intermittent manufacturing systems, often called "job shops," are capable of producing multiple items at the same time. These objects must be identical, or very similar, and cannot be customized for individual buyers. This type of system works best for limited production runs, or for companies looking to produce a low volume of goods.

There are many types of manufacturing that would fit in this category. 

  • A newspaper has stops and starts; the product is the same but with different content. 
  • Fast food has assembly lines; breakfast can be ordered in the morning until about 10:30 a.m. & then switches to lunch/dinner production.  The production has starts and stops.
  • A clothing company that makes outerwear can switch between coats and light jackets on the assembly line during different times of the year.  Each has a stop and start too it; but it is on the same line.

Intermittent takes longer to set up; and the workers are not as highly skilled as those in Custom production.  Here is an example of Intermittent Production:


When a good is always mass produced and never changes it is known as Continuous Production.

In this system, the product moves from station to station along an assembly line, with different workers performing various production tasks along the way.. This type of system allows companies to meet high production goals, and results in a lower per-unit cost. The workers in this system are usually experts on just one (or just a few) tasks.

Examples of products:

  • Water Bottles
  • TV Dinners
  • Calculators
  • Cars
  • Computers

Here is an example of Continuous  Production:  (This was selected as it uses a process that we need to know called Injection Molding.)

Wood Properties

My class is currently looking into an area of manufacturing that we have little or no experience with.  We are focusing on the properties of materials.  We are specifically looking at wood for this short example.  The following video helps students to understand why knowing the properties of a material can help us select the correct one for the job.


A review of a couple of the terms that we have encountered in our studies.

  • Thermoplastic 
  • Thermosetting 

What is the difference between Thermoplastic and Thermosetting Plastics?

Ferrous & Nonferrous

A review of a couple of the terms that we have encountered in our studies. 

  • Ferrous
  • Nonferrous 

What is the difference between Ferrous and Nonferrous Metals?

Bonding & Conditioning


In Manufacturing, we added a couple of more terms to the list the other day.  They are posted here for your review.


Bonding:  A method or way of fastening materials together.  Typically it is another term used for gluing or welding pieces together.  In this case:  Gluing is Adhesive Bonding; while Welding is Fusion Bonding.

Conditioning: In this case, it is a process that prepares the material as in metal conditioning.  This is also known as “heat treating” a metal.  Some conditioning processes are annealing, tempering, and hardening.

The following clip goes through the process of making a chisel in which the metal is brought up to heat and cooled in a quenching oil.  The metal is then conditioned by annealing to make the metal not so brittle at different points as seen in the video below.  The processes shown actually change the microstructure of the material which changes the physical properties of the material.

Lathe, CNC & CIM

Lathe: A machine tool used to shape material on a rotating work piece by using a fixed cutting tool against it.

Lathe video:


CNC: Computer Numerical Control – A lathe or milling machine where the machine is controlled by a computer running programs driven by numerical data.

CNC video –


CIM: Computer Integrated Manufacturing – The manufacturing approach of using computers to control the entire production process.

CIM video –

Law of Supply and Demand

In Manufacturing, we will have a test that will cover a wide range of topics at the end of the year.  One area covered, will be about the business of manufacturing.  A basic economics concept here is the law of supply and demand.  The law of supply and demand is the theory that prices are set by the relationship between the amount of goods that are available and the amount of goods that people want to buy. Under the law of supply and demand, the greater the supply of a product, the lower the price you can charge for it.  The opposite would also be true.  A shortage or limited supply of a product or service would then allow the supplier to charge more for the product.

Fossil Fuels & Alternative Energy

Students also need to know the difference between fossil fuels and Renewable energy types on our State Test.   We are reliant on fossil fuels right now.  The developed nations are trying to lessen their dependence on fossil fuels for economic as well as environmental reasons.   The following video explains the types of energy in the simplest form.  The bottom video is quite interesting and takes you through how we became so dependent on fossil fuels.

The Extrusion Process

To extrude a material means that a hot material is forced through a die to create a profile.  The profile may be rod, tube, or engineered shape.   The videos will help to explain the process.

The following video shows metal being extruded.

Injection Molding

Injection Molding is the most common way of working with plastics.  Many things that you handle everyday are made through the injection molding process.  See if you can see a couple in this video.

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