By Jon Miller | Post Date: January 4, 2009 4:53 PM | Comments: 5
Keep your chin up, global manufacturing! Even though new factory orders dipped recently to record lows, there is plenty of reason to be positive.
In celebration of manufacturing, I invite all of you to take a few minutes to take a virtual factory tour. There are over 1,300 of these videos on "how to make it" under YouTube. I've selected a few that might interest you:
Here is how they make a fireman's hat: I always thought these things were either shot from fiberglass or formed out of metal. This video is also good for a quick waste identification exercise.
Potato chips (crisps). Watch the journey from a wholesome potato to popular snack food.
A bit more complex than a bag of chips, see how the helicopter is put together.
Maybe it's just me but this seems like an awfully fixed-asset-intensive method for making wooden barrels.
Marbles. Attention leaders of government and industry: here is how to make more of them when you realize you've lost yours. Asks us if you're not sure you've lost them.
What I want to know is how were marbles made when marbles were made out of marble. Carved by hand? Machine into spheres? I used to have a few marble marbles and they were beautiful.
Board assembly of a video card. It would be nice if they showed a pan of the SMT itself rather than just extreme close ups of the board. Seeing the inside of the reflow oven is a treat though.
Hanging crane scale: this is a good video to use for a time observation and work sequence documentation exercise.
Pretzels: classic batch production. More continuous processing and packaging of foodstuffs.
Electrolux Inspiro oven: this is another process that begs for closer observation and a few kaizen events.
The award for the best musical soundtrack goes to... how to make a bucket of bubblegum at 900 pieces per minute.
The award for the best juxtaposition of sinister automation and cheery color goes to: Crayons. Dim the lights, mute the sound and add a psychedelic soundtrack of your choice.
These videos all seem skewed towards continuous processing industries and manual crafts work. Perhaps food and beverage (continuous processing) as well as musical instrument or apparel (armor, fireman's hats) are day to day objects far more familiar to people than mechanical equipment, industrial chillers or hydraulic components. It is also true that the flow of a one-person operation (crafts work) and the flow through continuous processing equipment are much easier to follow on video. It does give the impression though that manufacturing is either done mostly by machines or all by humans.
It would be good to see more of the human interaction with the process, including the waste and boredom that people working in manufacturing have to tolerate. These virtual factory tours give the average viewer the impression that manufacturing is almost fully value added, which is far from the truth. Many of these videos demonstrate batch even when it could be avoided. It's a shame that the "how things are made" series doesn't include more segments of, "...and then the cut materials remain in queue for between 5 to15 days until they are needed by the next process." And so forth, making for a more realistic perspective on how things are actually made. If television and YouTube viewers realized just how screwed up some of our manufacturing processes were maybe they would rise up as informed consumers and demand improvement, because the other great thing about manufacturing is that it is a very visual industry and the shenanigans become visible and addressable almost immediately, unlike some other industries I won't mention.
Bear up, global manufacturing! You don't often get the credit you deserve, but we need you.Comments are moderated to filter spam and inappropriate content. There may be a delay before your comment is published.