Mass production is also known as repetitive flow production, flow production, serial production and series production. This involves the production of very large amounts of products in a standardized way, including on assembly lines for example. The concepts that are associated with mass production are typically applied to a wide variety of different products including fluid products, particulates that are handled in bulk, mined minerals, discrete solid parts, part assemblies, chemicals, fuel, food, household appliances and even automobiles.
The origin of the term mass production comes from 1926. In the Encyclopedia Britannica, a supplement written about a correspondence with the Ford Motor Co. involved the use of this term within the article title, though the article was published prior to the Encyclopedia Britannica article.
Mass production of different assemblies typically requires the use of electric motor powered tracks or conveyor belts that move partially completed products down along the way to workers, and the workers are responsible for performing simple and repetitive tasks. Mass production can greatly improve upon earlier high-throughput and continuous flow methods of mass production that were made possible through the use of the steam engine.
Mass production of particulate matter and fluids typically involves screw conveyors, centrifugal pumps and pipes that transfer the raw materials or the partially completed products back and forth between different vessels. The fluid flow processors can be automated using a process control system, and this will rely on various instruments in order to measure a number of different variables. These variables may include pressure, temperature, volumetric throughput, level and other similar variables in order to provide feedback to a specific controller that has set points in mind.
In many ways, mass production can eliminate the need for as many workers by requiring the few necessary workers to perform only basic menial tasks, but in other ways, mass production can eliminate jobs all together by greatly automating the process of building things in massive quantities.