What is a Manufacturing System?

A manufacturing system is any combination of actions and processes used throughout the production of any goods. While businesses have developed various different systems and processes over time, they’ve become an increasingly important element of any production environment.

Developing the right system provides a medium through which commands can be transmitted to the machines, orders can be distributed to the workers, and they are an increasingly essential component of quality control.

Some of the most common systems used for manufacturing include:

In this post, we’re going to explore these different systems and processes used by manufacturers across industries around the world.

What is Discrete Manufacturing

Discrete manufacturing is a term that refers to any type of assembly process that results in the construction of distinct, finished products, made up of any number of individual parts or components. The concept is often applied to businesses that create a variety of products with different sizes and features, including most consumer goods, smartphones, medical devices, cars, and clothing.

What is Repetitive Manufacturing

Repetitive manufacturing can be similar to discrete manufacturing in that it describes the production or assembly of distinct goods that can be broken down into its individual components, but is more applicable for processes with little to no variation. With repetitive manufacturing processes, there is less changeover between steps, resulting in greater production efficiency. Repetitive manufacturing processes are often found in environments producing durable goods such as furniture and appliances, as well as many types of consumer electronics/electrical components.

What is Job Shop Manufacturing (Mass Customization)

Job shop manufacturing, also known as mass customization, is a process that combines the personalization of custom products, increasingly popular across many consumer goods, with the low costs and production efficiency found in traditional production systems. In contrast to discrete and repetitive manufacturing processes, a job shop environment makes use of defined production areas as opposed to traditional assembly lines. This allows businesses to fulfill smaller batches of custom products, however, can be difficult to automate depending on the level of personalization. Industries where mass customization processes can be found include custom clothing and furniture, specialty automobiles, and any consumer good that allows the consumer to personalize the end product.

What is Batch Manufacturing

A batch manufacturing process involves a set of ingredients and a sequence of one or more production steps that follow a pre-defined order. A set amount of product(s) are produced at the end of each sequence to make up a single batch. The processing of subsequent batches will only begin once all of the set amounts of products have been produced. Batch production processes are often found in the food and pharmaceutical industries as they enable more control over quality, better traceability, and shorter production times.

What is Continuous Manufacturing

A continuous manufacturing process moves raw material from the start of the process through each production step to a final product. Rather than waiting until the unit of product is complete (like in batch manufacturing), raw material is fed and processed continuously to produce additional units of product. Continuous production processes are primarily found in industries where facilities can run uninterrupted such as oil refining, paper production, chemical and cosmetic manufacturing, and some types of foods and beverages.


What is Additive Manufacturing

3D printing or additive manufacturing processes are among the newest forms of production that have continued to gain popularity over the past decade. Compared to traditional methods of manufacturing, 3D printing provides several advantages when it comes to customization, complexity, sustainability, and innovation. As a result, additive manufacturing processes have been embraced by a wide variety of industries from aerospace and defense to medical and dental device manufacturers.

Digitizing manufacturing systems with software

Over the past decade, there’s been an explosion in the number of software vendors that have entered the market aiming to automate manufacturing systems and solve countless different use cases and challenges experienced across manufacturing environments every day.

According to Allied Market Research, the global manufacturing operations management software market is expected to reach $15.2B by 2026. While much of this growth will be made up of incumbent solutions including siloed point solutions and traditional Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), we believe that a new generation of no-code, IoT-enabled solutions will lead the way, capturing an increasing percentage of market share.

With Tulip’s industry-leading Frontline Operations Platform, manufacturers are able to configure a holistic, flexible solution no matter what system(s) they have in place on the shop floor. Whether you’re making products on assembly lines, in job shops, or in batches, Tulip’s library of applications can help you solve whatever challenges exist in your environment.

If you're interested in learning how you can digitize your operations with Tulip's platform, reach out to a member of our team today!

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