Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Material and the transportation of material are further-
more very important in that they may dictate the location,
and must control the design, layout, and equipment of the
plant. To a very great extent, also, they will determine
the selection of personnel, the form of organization, and
probably the manufacturing policy.

Take, for instance, the case of a soap works. We shall
have here the problem of a converging flow of materials to
the kettle house, and from thence a stream of solid product
to the shipping platforms. Up to the point of its solidifica-
tion in the frames, our material is almost all fluid, is handled
at very little expense by pumping, and allows great elasticity
of arrangement.

Contrast with this the problem of the shipyard, which is
fundamentally putting overboard an enormously heavy unit
of product. Everything must be subservient to the location
of the shipways; our material is almost all in heavy pieces,
requiring heavy, fixed transportation systems, and the whole
scheme is extremely rigid.

If, again, we have to deal with the manufacture of type-
writers or cash registers, or some such light mechanical
product turned out largely on automatic machinery, our
problem is the accurate manufacture of enormous numbers
of very small parts, their orderly convergence to sub-centers
of assembling, and final assembling of the group parts into
the finished machine. We should doubtless install such a
manufacture in buildings of very good class, well lighted and
well equipped, to attract a desirable grade of labor, with
close communication between the various departments.

Lastly, if we are interested in powder-making, the con-
dition which dominates the whole installation is that of pos-
sible explosion, and our ideal is a plant widely scattered into
small units, none of them large enough to do disastrous
harm, housed in buildings so light that they can blow to
pieces without throwing heavy fragments, and isolated by
natural or artificial barriers.

Here, then, as elsewhere in the manufacturing problem,
we see that while our purposes are fixed, the means by which
those purposes are reached must vary with each particular
case or each particular class of cases, and the first and great
essential to success is intelligent survey of our conditions,
and then the application of scientific knowledge, intelligent
methods, plain, practical common-sense to the provision of
means for meeting them.

1 For an excellent treatment of this subject see " Industrial Plants ; their
Arrangement and Construction," by Charles Day; The Engineering Mag'


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