Henry Ford not only brought the world the first commercially manufactured vehicle, he also gave way to the assembly line. Originally, cars were created by a combination of machine and human power. Car parts, such as engines and rims, were manufactured in large numbers by machines. Each car was pushed down a conveyor belt and assembled piece by piece, until it was ready to be shipped off to its new owner. Many aspects of the car making process haven’t changed in over 100 years, including standard fender washers in steel and stainless steel. There is a lot more automation involved in the car manufacturing process, but human minds are still a very crucial component of the car making process.
The Car Conceptualization Process
Any car that has been thought up but not yet created is referred to as a concept. Someone could have thought of an idea for a flying car, down to its technology but until it has been built and is flying in the air it is no more than an idea that has been conceptualized. Car concepts come entirely from people, be they engineers, artists or automobile aficionados. Auto manufacturers might have several different designs made up for the same concept car, with each version showing minor as well as major changes from the original.
Creating a Prototype
Before any vehicle is put into production there has to be a prototype. Ideally, the prototype will perfectly reflect what the standard model car will look like once it is mass produced. Vehicle prototypes are tested for road worthiness, safety and consumer reception. Many car prototypes are created almost entirely by hand. This is as much of a cost conserving measure as it is meant to help ensure that maximum quality is achieved. Engineers can learn what problems a concept vehicle might have mechanically while building a prototype.
Putting a New Car into Production
Putting a new car model into production costs vehicle makers upwards of billions of dollars. Raw materials such as metals are needed to cast the frame of the car and production machinery has to be calibrated to create a new car design. Workers have to be thoroughly educated on how to oversee the production process and keep a lookout for any vehicle component that could cause a quality control issue. This is why car manufacturers only typically put out one new vehicle model at a time. While a car maker can make thousands of cars in a day, it can be many months before everything is made ready for the mass production process. Auto makers often take their time designing and testing new cars to help avoid safety issues and car recalls.
Vehicles still go down an assembly line as they’re produced, only it’s mechanical arms that attach the wheels to the frame instead of human hands. Workers look at computer screens to check for issues instead of visually inspecting cars when they go by. Changes in the car making process have helped to increase production, affordability, and product safety as a whole.