V. Ryan 2012
A production log should include photographs and notes (see example sheets) that explain each stage of manufacture. Key areas should be included. Example statements / terminology, are written below in bold.

1. In a production log, photographs and notes, should record the range of skills and the precision of your work, as applied to every stage of manufacturing.

This can be achieved by showing the tools and machinery you are using, to ensure accuracy and precision. The photographs should show machines and equipment being used correctly and safely.
Add notes that clearly explain why each piece of machinery / equipment was selected for use. Could you use a different piece of equipment / machinery, to carry out the same process? If so name the equipment / machinery and explain why.

E.G. ‘I made my mould / pattern as accurately as possible, using a CNC router. This allowed me to manufacture with precision. Also, if I need a replacement mould / pattern, it can simply be machined again’.

E.G. ‘I made an accurate jig to check the accuracy of the sides of my container. The jig had a tolerance of -5mm to +5mm’.


2. As you manufacture your product you will inevitably make changes / modifications, even if they are only small changes. Record these in the log. Explain the modifications you have made and why you made them.
You may make changes based on the advice of your customer / client, or an experienced engineer / designer. Making modifications during manufacture is not a problem, failing to record them is a problem.

E.G. ‘I reduced the weight of the box lid, so that if it fell or slammed on to the hands and fingers of a young child, it is much less likely to hurt’. My client suggested this, when she inspected the product, part way through the manufacturing process’.

E.G. ‘I decided to add rubber stoppers to the base. These were not on my original designs. I found that there was a potential for the base to scratch surfaces. The rubber stoppers solved this problem’.


3. Your choice of materials at relevant stages of manufacture should be recorded and justified. You will have good reasons for your choice of material / materials, add this to the notes underneath / alongside photographs.

E.G. ‘I used perspex for this part of the product, because it gives the opportunity for my client and potential customers to select the colour’.

E.G. ‘I decided to use pine for the base, because it has good physical properties. It resists drops and knocks. It can be finished with varnish and even dyed, depending on customer requirements’.


4. Always reduce waste where possible, when manufacturing a product. Record this in the production log. For instance, you may have to make several copies of the same part. You probably will decide to make a ‘card’ template first and to use this to mark out the parts. This will inevitably reduce waste and save money.

E.G. ‘When marking out one of the table legs, I decided to cut out an accurate card template and to draw round it. I reduced the amount of expensive materials required for the legs, by marking out the parts alongside each other, with only a small gap between each. This saved an estimated 20% of materials and reduced costs significantly’.

E.G. ‘When ordering the materials, I was careful to order just enough for one product, plus 10% extra in case mistakes were made. It was tempting to order more, but this would have made the product less economically viable (reduced profits) and less environmentally friendly’.


5. When planning the manufacture of your product, consider sustainability. This could include several factors:

You may have designed your product so that it is a ‘flat pack’. In your production log it would be wise to emphasise this point:

E.G. ‘My flat pack takes up the minimum of space when it is transported to the customer. This allows more of my product to be transported in one lorry / container, saving fuel and reducing pollution.’

Emphasise the efficiency of your manufacturing process. You should make every effort to reduce the amount of energy consumed during the production of you product.

E.G. ‘I only turned on the vacuum former when it was actually needed. Also, I carried out all the vacuum forming in one go, rather than vacuum forming every part individually. This saved electricity and reduced my overall costs’.

You may have bought your materials from a local supplier and collected them yourself. This reduced the amount of fuel required for a delivery and consequently reduced pollution and damage to the environment.

E.G. ‘I carefully considered where I could buy the materials I need for the manufacture of my product. It was convenient to collect them a local supplier. This meant I did not have to wait for a delivery from a company that may be 200 hundred miles away. This saved on several gallons of fuel and the resulting pollution’.


6. Always include your decision to use sustainable materials. These are materials such as natural woods that can be replaced as they grow as trees.

You could mention that you intend to only use recycled plastics (name a specific plastic). This is called ‘Closed Loop Recycling’.

E.G. ‘When selecting my materials I carefully checked that the pine came from sustainable forest and the supplier was certified by the FSC - Forest Stewardship Council. I could be certain that when a tree was felled another was planted as a replacement’.

E.G. During this stage of manufacture, I only used recycled polystyrene. This part of my product can be recycled at the end of its productive life and recycled. This is closed loop recycling.


7. Emphasise any use of recycled materials for part or all of the product, as this increases its sustainability. It reduces the need to mine / grow and process new materials, saving energy and lowering the product’s ‘carbon footprint’.

E.G. ‘I selected recycled materials for making the sides of the container. This reduced the need for new materials and made the product more environmentally sustainable’.

E.G. ‘The handles were fixed to the lid, using reclaimed / recycled screws. They were simply reused. There was no need to buy new, expensive brass screws’. This saved on the mining of new raw materials and the energy required for processing it into screws’.

E.G. ‘Using screws to fit some of the parts to the main body, meant that in the event of a repair being necessary, the main parts could simply be unscrewed and replaced’.


8. Health and Safety. When manufacturing your product, there will be ample opportunity for you to show that you understand the need for risk assessments. Two of the main aspects of carrying out a risk assessment, is to identify the hazards and potential risks. These are activities that are potentially dangerous. Once an hazard has been identified, the risk (or possibility) of an employee being harmed by the hazard, is quantified. This is usually recorded as low risk, medium risk or high risk. Control measures are then introduced.

You must have evidence of this

E.G. ‘When using the drilling machine, I carried out a risk assessment. I identified the potential hazard as being:
The potential for small pieces of material to be ejected from the drilling area. I assessed the risk level as medium and followed the control measure, wearing goggles to minimise risk.
I also identified a potential risk of an accident, if the material was held in the hand whist drilling. I assessed the risk level as being medium. The control measure was, to use a machine vice to hold the material securely, whilst the drilling process took place.

E.G. ‘I applied safe working practices to all aspects of cutting and preparing the materials for my product.


9. Quality Control is carried out on a production line, at every stage. This is when the quality of work and the standard of work is carefully checked. If the part being manufactured falls below the required standard, repairs and improvements can be made or the part / component is rejected and recycled.

E.G. ‘When I cut the materials to the correct length, width and depth, I checked every piece again. I looked for faults, damage and ensured that the measurements were correct. This guarantees that I will not have problems later, when I assemble the product’.

E.G. ‘My customer checked the quality of the product, part way through its manufacture. He wanted the ensure that the product he receives does not fall below expectations. He called this quality control’.


10. Carefully consider using non-toxic materials, paints, varnishes and finishes, during the manufacture of your product. Also, some finishes such as paints and varnishes require the brushes to be cleaned in white spirit. Selecting water based products helps to protect the environment, as they do not contaminate environment, if they come in contact with the water supply or soil.

E.G. ‘I made a conscious decision to apply non-toxic water based varnish to the surface of the natural wood. The brushes could be safely washed in water and there was no need for toxic cleaning agents’.


11. Consider the life cycle of your product, during the manufacturing process. Mention that you have used quality materials and components, so that the product ‘functions’ for a long time. This means that it will not need replacing for quite some time.

E.G. ‘When fitting the felt to the roof of the bird box, I chose the best quality so that it will last for many years, avoiding repairs. This will extend its life cycle.

E.G. ‘When soldering, I selected high quality electronic components and soldered them to the PCB. This should mean the life cycle of the circuit is significantly increased, reducing the need for repairs for many years’.