The production line is a complex of machines stacked together and controlled so that they function as an integrated whole. This is also a team of human operated positions that are set according to the order of operations carried out within technological process. The number of positions in the production line depends on the needs and technical specification of product. Each manufactured product must go through the specified step in the production process, within a specified time, and employees must perform all actions assigned to his/her position. This set of activities is called a production cycle. The end result of a production line can be result of: processing, handling, transport, packaging, etc.
Alternatively, in literature following terms is used:
- complex of machines
- set of machines
- complex machine
- integrated production system
- work equipment
There are few characteristics for the production line:
- machines are spatially positioned so as to form lines
- production is partially or fully automated
- primary control system integrates and combines work on line
- integration of stand-alone machines for handling and transport on short distances
- use of protective safety components on the whole line
- usage of measuring and control workstations, which checks the materials, semi-finished products and finished products
Types of production lines
Construction of the production line is dependent on the amount of produced parts. By analyzing manufacturing processes, there are a few basic types of manufacturing activities:
- one unit production (e.g. building a house),
- small batch production - craft work produced, few similar products
- mass production – large repetitive series of products
- continuous production – e.g. petroleum refining, production of paper, steel etc.
- Kleindorfer, P. R., Singhal, K., & Wassenhove, L. N. (2005). Sustainable operations management. Production and operations management, 14(4), 482-492.