Production line

From CEOpedia | Management online

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


Fig.1. Production line model

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.

Examples of Production line

  • Automobile manufacturing line: Automobile manufacturing lines are complex production systems that can involve hundreds of machines and workers. They operate using a series of assembly stations that are connected together in a linear fashion. Each station is responsible for a specific task such as welding, painting, or assembling. Once the tasks are completed, the finished product moves on to the next station until the entire automobile is produced.
  • Food production line: Food production lines are automated systems used to process and package food products. They involve machines and conveyor belts that move the food through different steps in the production process. For example, a food production line may include machines for washing, cutting, seasoning, and packaging the food. The end product is a packaged food item ready for sale in stores.
  • Pharmaceutical production line: Pharmaceutical production lines are used to manufacture drugs and medical devices. The production line includes machines for mixing, blending, and sterilizing ingredients. The end product is a packaged pill or medical device that meets safety and quality standards.

Advantages of Production line

Production lines offer a number of advantages to businesses, such as:

  • Increased efficiency: Production lines allow for the efficient production of goods by streamlining the process and eliminating unnecessary steps. This helps to reduce costs, as well as reduce the amount of time it takes to produce a product.
  • Reduced labor costs: Traditional production methods require a large number of workers to complete the same task. However, production lines can replace many of these workers with machines, reducing the number of people needed and their associated wages.
  • Improved quality: Production lines help to ensure that each product is made to a consistent standard. This eliminates the possibility of human error, resulting in higher quality products.
  • Increased output: Production lines are able to produce a large number of products in a short amount of time, allowing for increased output. This allows businesses to meet customer demands, as well as increase their profits.

Limitations of Production line

The production line has certain limitations that must be taken into account when designing and implementing such a system. These limitations include:

  • Lack of flexibility - as the production line is designed to complete specific tasks in a specific order, it cannot easily be adapted to changing demands or customer needs.
  • High capital costs - due to the complexity of the production line, the initial cost of setting up and running it can be very expensive.
  • Low quality - due to the speed of production, there is often a lack of quality control, leading to products that are poorly made.
  • High labor costs - as the production line requires a large number of workers, labor costs can be very high.
  • Risk of injury - due to the speed of production, there is a greater risk of workers being injured or suffering from repetitive strain injury.
  • High energy consumption - due to the large number of machines and processes involved in the production line, energy consumption is high.

Other approaches related to Production line

A production line is an integrated system of machines and personnel that efficiently produces a product by following a set of predetermined steps. While the production line is the most common approach to streamline production and increase efficiency, there are other approaches that can help manufacturers optimize their production process. These include:

  • Just-in-Time Manufacturing: This approach focuses on reducing inventory levels by having the right parts arrive when they are needed to help the production process. This reduces costs associated with inventory management and storage.
  • Automation: Automation involves the use of machines and robotics to replace manual labor, allowing for greater speed, precision, and efficiency in production.
  • Lean Manufacturing: This approach focuses on reducing waste and improving efficiency in production by streamlining processes, eliminating unnecessary steps, and improving product quality.
  • Quality Control: Quality control is the process of ensuring that products meet the desired standards of quality by testing at various stages of the production process.

In conclusion, while the production line is the most common approach to streamline production and increase efficiency, there are other approaches such as Just-in-Time Manufacturing, Automation, Lean Manufacturing, and Quality Control that can help manufacturers optimize their production process.

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