What Are Disadvantages of Axle Assembly Line?

  • First, parts must be absolutely interchangeable, or else they do not fit together. Machine tools that made parts had to be extremely accurate before this was possible. Eli Whitney envisioned the advantages and convinced Thomas Jefferson to support his efforts to make identical parts for muskets. However, American armories and other manufacturers such as those making sewing machines struggles for most of the nineteenth century to achieve the precision necessary for an Syringe Production Line.

    Second, in order to arrange machines and processes in an assembly line order the source of power must be extremely flexible. This was not the case in steam-driven factories, where power came steam pipes and from overhead line shafts, belts and gears. The further steam was from its source, the less powerful it became. As a drive shaft and gear system grew longer, more and more energy was needed just to keep it turning at all. The power train in such a factory was not flexible, and therefore steam power was not well suited to experiments in manufacturing design. In contrast, electric motors, furnaces, and lights could be placed anywhere, and machines in an electrified factory could be placed in any order desired.

    Third, an assembly line is expensive to set up, and it makes no economic sense to invest so much capital in one unless a large market exists, a market willing to purchase a single product. The United States developed such a mass market, in contrast to Europe, where trade barriers balkanized the market. In France, Britain and Germany, there was a “class market” that demanded differentiated products that appealed to different segments of a smaller pool of consumers. After 1914 European manufacturers visited Detroit to study the assembly line, but few industries could build comparable factories because Europe was not yet a mass market.

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