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Lecture 10

NATS 1775 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Singer Corporation, James J. Couzens, Machine Tool

Natural Science
Course Code
NATS 1775
Vera Pavri

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I. The Ford Motor Company and Mass Production- Early Years
- interchangeable parts and mass production really come together with Ford and his
introduction of assembly line in 1913
- While the general principles of assembly line production had been around for a long time,
Ford is given credit for this concept because his idea is most often connected to modern
day mass production techniques
- changes took place from 1908-1915
- important to focus on changes in factory and machine design AND labor
- Ford not first to develop automobile; however, in Europe, automobiles seen as toy for
rich elitist mentality this was market that people had in mind
Right from the very beginning, Ford’s idea of car customers was different from
other car manufacturers
- What he wanted to create was not just a car for the rich but a “car for the masses
His vision was to put a car should be in every person’s garage
Q: If Ford wants to create a car for the masses, what are the two things he
will need to do to fulfil his goal?
A: create lots of cars and make them cheap
- This philosophy is crucial to understanding why Ford will embrace ASM techniques
- In 1906 Ford began working on what would be his most famous car, “The Model T”
- It was completed by 1908: one piece, twenty horsepower, magneto fired engine
simple design and easy to repair, inexpensive
reduction in price: car costs $825 when average price for other cars around $1800;
by 1912-13 cost around $613, later years would be $230
- In his early factory Ford never took out profits from company; put them back into
- He hired high skilled mechanics and gave them freedom to experiment in areas like
machine tool design and placement, fixture design, factory layout, quality control and
materials handling
- Prior to adopting ASM techniques, Ford would make cars by purchasing parts from other
companies and then have them put together by teams of workmen in three story plant
- Things will start to change in 1905
II. Ford, ASM and Knowledge Diffusion
- Ford formed own manufacturing company in 1905 with financial wiz James Couzens and
started manufacturing parts
Vertical integration
- He also hired Walter E. Flanders who was a machine tool salesman and had previously
worked for the Singer sewing machine company
Flanders is a great example of knowledge diffusion: he help show Ford the links
between buying materials, production, selling and helped make him realize the
importance of using interchangeable parts
uniform parts were essential to produce a high volume of goods and could be
made using single or special purpose machine tools
Scientific Management
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- P.E. Martin and Charles Sorenson were also hired by Ford and they stressed the
importance of other ideas including the importance of having the proper factory layout
and paying careful attention to detailed machine operations
These men also urged Ford to use knowledge from other manufacturing sectors
and apply them to automobile industry
For instance, Sorenson recommended that crank cases be made via
stamping techniques rather than casting methods because of his past
experiences in bicycle plants
III. Highland Park
- Many of these ideas associated with ASM techniques were tried out in Ford’s new
facility known as Highland Park which opened in 1910
in 1906 Ford had bought a 60 acre piece of land in the North edge of Detroit
- At the time, he wanted a larger factory and needed more space because his older one was
not big enough
- Ford’s original manufacturing facility had been located in an urban area. Why would this
be a problem in terms of expansion? (hint: think costs and location bottlenecks)
Multileveled facility
Moving parts in and out of the city
No room for expansion
- in 1910 Highland Park was opened and became the new home of the Model T
At the time, it was built in a very innovation way and did not resemble a
traditional factory setting
- The building were built wide and long and were linked to each other via cranes as a way
to allow materials to be moved around with ease
- This now became the place where parts were manufactured and cars were built
Important to remember that while Ford was incorporating ASM techniques at this
time, the assembly line (which is a critical part of mass production), will not be
introduced until 1913
- Highland park was a centre for scientific management
Still couldn’t keep up with the number of cars he wanted to makes
IV. Development of the Moving Assembly Line and Mass Production
- Despite the fact that ASM techniques were now a regular part of Ford’s manufacturing
process, by 1913 he was finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with growing demand
- While Ford now felt pressure to increase production of his Model Ts, he could not do so
under his old system of production which still required groups of “assembly gang”
workers to come together and construct each automobile by hand
assembly gang problems include: time limits, proper delivery of materials, labor
- Ford need a way to increase both the speed and accuracy of production and ultimately
came up with the idea of an assembly line
An assembly line is essentially a mechanized conveyor belt which can be sped up
or slowed down to manufacture goods from the ground up
The movement is set to speed up slower workers, slow down faster ones
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