Process technologies lie at the core of product creation in factories and processing plants. The five types have their own characteristics and challenges for production managers and process technicians. Each technology must be analyzed for the most efficient and safe way to produce company products.
Process technicians assist engineers and plant operators with designing, implementing, and maintaining production, assembly, packaging, and shipping lines. They also apply their skills in:
- Troubleshooting electronic and mechanical systems
- Repairing equipment and replacing parts
- Monitoring variables like temperature and pressure
- Working with compressors and turbines
- Recording their findings and reporting to supervisors
Process technology is a fast-growing field across a wide range of industries in the U.S. and abroad. Technicians must have adequate knowledge of and skills in working with the basic types of process technologies.
The Assembly Line Is a Widely Used Technology
Assembly line production is an industrial arrangement of tools, equipment, robotics, and employees for producing the same products. The movement of materials is simpler in this process with no cross flow or backtracking of work. Production rates, machines, and assignments are all pre-programmed to reach goals.
This process is responsible for assembling smaller products at different steps in a sequence to create a final product. Most assembly lines are partially automated because there may be human intervention at each stage of production or assembly. This technology is similar to continuous flow except it is not as highly specialized.
Project Technology Is Used for Unique Products
Project technology is suitable for creating a one-of-a-kind product such as a specialized bridge. This production process cannot be standardized because most projects are different from each other. Customers tend to be one-time and product demand is infrequent. The technology process must be flexible to meet varied and small volume businesses. Examples include:
- Large Buildings
- Dams and Dikes
- Bridges and Canals
- Roads and Aqueducts
- Yachts and Naval Shops
- Wind-powered Plants
|“Process technicians assist engineers with designing, implementing, and maintaining production, assembly, packaging, and shipping lines. Process technology is a fast-growing field across a wide range of industries in the U.S. and abroad.”|
Continuous Flow Technology Is Used for Mass Production
Continuous flow processing is used for highly standardized and large volumes of products. They may be stored in warehouses or retail stores for current and future sales or used as components for completed products on an assembly line. This process uses standardized:
Some common examples are consumer goods that include biscuits, noodles, and soap. Other mass-produced items include circuit boards for phones and computers and oil filters for cars. This technology is also known as mass production.
Job Shop Technology Is Flexible for a Variety of Products
This process technology is used for producing small batches of different products. Each batch may have a different sequence of steps to follow and the previous job may be different from the current one. It is flexible for producing a variety of products that can be manufactured for customized orders.
Since each production run is different, the work only starts after receiving a customer’s order. Careful planning is necessary for:
- Purchasing the right amount of materials
- Scheduling each step and completion time
- Controlling production, assembly, and packaging
- Controlling material waste
Examples of job shop processing include large orders for printing shops and clothing made in short runs.
Batch Processing Technology Is Similar to Job Shop
Batch processing is similar to job shop technology except production runs create much larger quantities. Like job shop work, batch processing is carried out for individual customer orders or for immediate stock for inventories.
This technology also compares to job shops in that production machinery and equipment may be similar. Larger orders make it easier to secure raw materials, schedule production steps, assemble products, and control product waste. Examples of products include manufacturing heavy equipment parts, electronic components, and specialized fertilizer. Process technicians that can master working with job shops can transfer their skills to batch processing.
If you are seeking a career in process technology, consider earning a college degree to get off to a great start. Explore our Associate of Occupational Studies (AOS) Degree in Process Technology at ITI Technical College. It is endorsed by the North American Process Technology Alliance (NAPTA) and is recognized by the Greater Baton Rouge Industry Alliance (GBRIA).