American industrialist Henry Ford is generally credited with inventing the first assembly line, around 1913. The innovation allowed the Ford Motor Co. to sell millions of cars in a few years, a phenomenal feat at the time. Ford would certainly recognize some of the techniques he pioneered, such as the division of labor, on the modern assembly line, but he’d surely be amazed at the advances such as robotics and “clean rooms.” From microchips to beer, here are 10 interesting assembly line videos.
Emmitt, who has been on the job for 34 years at the Wilson Football factory, seems to get the short end of the stick at the factory, with a job that looks ridiculously hard (2:17 mark in the video). You have to love the music, though, which sounds like an outtake from those classic NFL Films videos.
You may never look at a packet of chicken breasts in the grocery store without thinking of this video.
If you’re a frequent flyer, you might want to skip this one, seeing an entire airplane put together in fast motion. You’d probably like to think the aircraft you’re on took months of painstaking production, with each rivet and weld double- and triple-checked.
Still seems like the guy who has to wear the suit in hot temperatures while getting punched by little kids has the toughest job.
For any student who has ever been asked to bring two, sharpened No. 2 pencils to an SAT test or other aptitude exam, now you know who (or is it whom?) to blame.
And you thought washing dishes after fixing soup for lunch was a chore. Imagine having to clean this factory.
Where are all the people? Watch this for just a few seconds, and suddenly the whole concept of machines coming to life, as in the movie The Terminator, doesn’t seem so far-fetched. Also, it’s impossible to watch this and not wonder about the economics of the situation. People used to perform these tasks, in jobs that paid relatively well. Now machines do the work. Obviously, those machines require computer programmers and other high-tech labor for maintenance, but that doesn’t make up for the high-paying, blue-collar jobs that have been lost. Of course, maybe that lowers the price of the car, and some of those unemployed welders have become car salesmen and make nice commissions. It’s a lot to think about.
Anyone who’s ever tried to make beer at home knows how hard it is to get it just right. Now, imagine making beer on an industrial scale like this, with each one of millions of bottles meeting the same high standard.
2. Cell Phones
At the end of the day, do the workers sit around texting each other to test the phones?
1. Silicon Chips
Amazing fact from the video: “The air in the facility is 1,000 times cleaner than in a hospital operating room.” It’s easy to understand the premise behind the construction of a car, airplane and the other items on this list. But here’s a salute to the scientists and engineers who conceived of the intricate manufacturing process behind these tiny chips that power so many aspects of our daily life.