The assembly line turns 100

The first moving assembly line debuted by Ford for the Model T production on October 7, 1913.

10/07/2013


The first moving assembly line was created by Ford at their Highland Park plant for the production of the model T on October 7, 1913. Courtesy: Ford Motor CompanyOct. 7 marks a century of progress for manufacturing. It was on this date when the modern assembly line was born, changing forever how goods would be manufactured and lowering the cost of manufacturing to make those goods more affordable for consumers.

The moving assembly line debuted on October 7, 1913, by Ford Motor Company at the company's Highland Park, Mich., assembly plant. The line's efficiency helped Ford make vehicles at a greater rate while making the vehicles more affordable.

Before the moving assembly line, the cars were handmade, and the manufacturing process was stationary. The chassis stayed in one place until the vehicle was finished. Car prices remained high as a result because of the time and effort required by skilled labor to finish a car.

The company came onto an idea in April 1913 after a production engineer decided to improve the time spent putting together a flywheel magneto by separating the process into 29 steps, with each step given to a different worker down an assembly line. The assembly time to assemble a flywheel magneto was cut from 20 minutes to five, and Ford decided to expand the process to engine construction and other parts of the vehicle.

On October 7, 1913, a rudimentary final assembly line was rigged at the new Highland Park plant. A chassis was pulled slowly across the factory floor by rope and windlass. Parts and 140 assemblers were stationed along the 150-foot line, and they attached parts to the car as the winch dragged the chassis across the floor. Production time for a single vehicle fell from 12 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours and 50 minutes.

A conveyor system with a power drive improved the system and allowed workers to install parts on both sides of the vehicle. By 1914, continuous improvement had whittled the time required for assembly to 93 minutes.

Source: Ford Motor Co. Edited by Chris Vavra, CFE Media.



Anonymous , 10/21/13 01:39 PM:

In this day and age it seems we easily forget those before us. Little thought is given to those individuals with the intelligence and drive to push us forward. Today many “leaders” work for short term gains, and not for long term continuous improvement. Always good to look back and see how we got to where we are, and to pay tribute to those that forged a path forward.
Don A.
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.