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Batch Production Manufacturing

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Manufacturers use many different ways to produce their product. Before deciding on a method there are many different factors they must consider. Some of these are:

  • The needs of their customers

  • The production equipment that will be required

  • The staff and subsequent training that will be needed

  • The specifications of the product they will be manufacturing

  • The timeline and any other requirements for their specific product(s)

  • The overall cost of manufacturing their product(s)


After carefully considering all of these factors manufacturers then have a variety of production processes to choose from. One of the most widely used is the Batch Production Manufacturing method. This method can be used by manufacturers, of anything from cakes to computer chips. This is when, instead of manufacturing things singly, or by continuous production (think of the I Love Lucy episode in the chocolate factory for an example of the latter), items are then manufactured in batches. In other words a specific process for each item takes place at the same time on a batch of items, and that batch does not move onto the next stage of production or inspection until the whole batch is completed.

For example, in many small bakeries (and in numerous homes), as opposed to large food manufacturing companies, cookies are baked in batches. The baker will first make the dough, then place the dough onto baking sheets, and then bake them. The baker is then limited into how many cookies they can produce at one time by the number of baking sheets and ovens they possess, and by the size of bowls that are available to mix each batch.

This is what is known as batch production, since you do bake a large number of cookies at the same time, and you can not skip from one process to the next until each process is complete. You can not start cooking the cookies until you have made the cookie dough, and you can not remove the cookies from the oven (in most cases) until all the cookies are done, (unless you have got an oven with a conveyor belt). There are also necessary steps that apply to the whole batch of cookies. Also the actual cooking may require you to bake in individual batches, increasing the final time between finishing the dough, and actually having completed baking all the cookies.

Sometimes batch production is also necessary when a manufacturer is producing similar things, but with variants. For example, if a manufacturer makes two colors of the same shoe, they will probably use batch production. Any dyeing of leather or fabric can not apply to the whole set of shoes you want to manufacture, since they are different colors. This can mean having to stop in between each batch to change or clean machines, or prepare to add new dyes for the next variation. The necessity of stopping between batches is referred to as "down time," and is why some people call batch production an inefficient manufacturing process. The time that is needed to prepare equipment or machines for the next batch can reduce total amount that can be manufactured, and take longer in total production time.

Another example of batch production can be found in thin film coating of materials, like lenses and computer screens. A coating machine can only hold a finite number of the item being produced, and it can take several hours to over a day to apply the coatings needed in order to produce one batch. After the materials are coated, they move on to the inspection process, while the coating machine must be readied for the next batch. This resetting of the machine can take considerable time, and may require numerous steps before the next batch can be placed in the machine.

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