We all purchase and enjoy manufactured goods, from our cell phones to our coffee makers. These goods have come to be an essential part of our daily lives. They’re how we communicate, how we enjoy food, how we clean, and everything in between. Often, we find them at stores, carry them home, and enjoy their benefits without actually thinking of how they came to be.
Behind every household item and piece of technology is a long process of manufacturing. We often don’t think about what goes into the products that have become such staples of our daily lives, but they actually are very interesting to learn about. The items in your household, at your workplace, and everywhere else have a past “life” that created them before they hit the shelves and made their way into society. Let’s take a look at some important industrial processes that shape your favorite everyday products.
1. Heat Staking
You may have never heard of this process, but it’s actually key in developing so many of your favorite products, such as computers, speakers, and electric razors. Essentially, heat staking is used to fuse two pieces of plastic together. The plastic is heated, and thus becomes malleable soft so that it’s shape can be changed. Then, the plastic is joined with other parts and cooled, hardening into the desired shape.
This process gives products great quality, which is why it has become so widely used in manufacturing. Heat staking involves particular heat staking machines, the quality of which is extremely important in ensuring that the heat staking process produces durable goods. Heat staking has become extremely popular partially because it can be completed in one machine cycle, making it an efficient process.
Read next: Incredible Products You Need in 2021
2. Machine Vision
Machine vision is another technology used in manufacturing to create some of the most well-known products on the market. Also known as visual sensing, this process is able to detect and “see” products in development in a manner that does not require human intervention. Machine vision is able to inspect surface quality, perceive dimensions, and ensure the functioning of products.
Machine vision has become extremely common because of its convenience and widespread potential. It has been incorporated into the automotive industry, the food and beverage industry, and the electronics industry. It’s even involved in pharmaceutical manufacturing.
3. Injection Molding
Another manufacturing process to be aware of is called injection molding. Most notably, this is the process behind television manufacturing. It involves injecting a molten material into a solid mold. The molten part will then cool in the mold, which is designed differently depending on the product.
This process also uses a particular machine that contains an injection unit, clamp, and mold. The machine must be designed meticulously, and its uses are expansive, from manufacturing car parts to toys. Notable applications of this technology include bottle caps, musical instruments, and storage containers. It’s fascinating to consider how just one process and machine can yield so many different products.
Switching gears to the textile industry, a process called mercerization is widely used on fabrics to strengthen them, improve their dye uptake, reduce shrinkage, and create a shine. In this process, textiles are treated with a corrosive solution. This solution rearranges the cellulose molecules in the fabric, which causes positive changes to the textiles.
Like many manufacturing processes, mercerization requires attention to detail and quality machinery. It is important that the components of this process are controlled, meaning that the solution should reach a particular percentage of concentration, and each step in the process should occur for a controlled length of time.
Additionally, this process requires the instrumentation necessary for electrical conductivity. This involves conductivity sensors, which vary greatly in quality and, in turn, influence the quality of the process. Mercerization also requires analyzing equipment. This is a complex, chemical process, but one that is used on nearly all of our clothes.
Information about how our most common goods are manufactured is often hard to come by. It’s rare to buy something and think to look into how it came to be. However, learning about manufacturing processes gives us a better understanding of technology, factory systems, and science in general. It helps us to fully appreciate the everyday items we all enjoy. So next time you’re wondering how something was built or made, research the industrial processes it went through. You’ll be surprised at what you might learn.