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STANDARD COMPONENTS - MORE FACTS

V. Ryan 2011

 

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HISTORICAL BACKGROUND TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF STANDARD COMPONENTS
 
Pre-industrial society was a world without standard components. Industrial progress was slow, and life was much harder for the vast majority of people.

Industry was based on making hand crafted items, requiring individual craft skills. Skilled workers developed their craft skills over years and  decades. Even nails and screws were made by individual craftsmen, to their own standard (size and shape). Consequently, manufactured products were very expensive, and usually out of reach of the average citizen.

Everyday products were relatively simple, as each product was manufactured in its entirety in the same small factory. Factories tended to be small, relying on in-house designers and manufactured every part of the product they were producing.

During the Industrial Revolution, standard components were introduced and industrial progress accelerated, slowly benefiting society. Standard components are the building blocks of more complex products. During the age of steam, fittings such as screws, bolts, rivets were manufactured on an industrial scale, to standard sizes. Also, steel and other materials were made to standard sizes and quality. This helped in the design and manufacture of more complex devices such as boilers, leading to rapid industrial progress. This lead to the age of steam.

During the 1950s and 1960s, the electronics industry developed. The use of standard electronic components made it possible for consumer products to be mass manufactured. Our modern consumer society began to take shape.

Today, products ranging from electronic gadgets and domestic appliances to cars, all depend on the assembly of standard components. Our communication system and transport system depend on standard components. Without standard components and resulting assembled devices/appliances, almost every aspect of our lives would be much harder and less fulfilling.
 
 
 
ADVANTAGES OF STANDARD COMPONENTS
 
1. Standard components can be manufactured in vast quantities, keeping costs down. For example, several manufacturers supply steel screws/bolts at standard sizes. This 'competition' helps to keep prices low and offers customers a choice of supplier. Also, the manufacturers have to maintain the quality of their components, if they are to attract customers.

2. Standard components are supplied in standard sizes. Consequently, they are easy to order. Ordering standard components is relatively straightforward, as sizes / dimensions etc... are available in table or index form.

3. Buying directly from suppliers, over the counter, at hardware stores such as B & Q, is easier as standard components such as screws, bolts, nails and fixings are often displayed in order. This makes it easier to find the component the customer requires.

4. Safety / quality testing is easier when dealing with standard components. Often a number of standard components, from a batch will be tested. As they are all the same, it is not necessary to test each component individually. Faults can be identified and corrected quickly. Faulty components if detected, can be withdrawn from sale.

5. Manufacturers of ‘complex’ products (computers TVs, etc....), usually assemble their products from standard components. This allows them to concentrate on the development of their specialised product, rather than having to design each individual component. This speeds up product development.

6. Setting up a mass production line is easier, if standard components are used. It is easier to train staff / the workforce, as they are dealing with the same standard components, when assembling products.
 
 
 
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