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The Inventions That Changed Manufacturing Forever

Sometimes it seems as if technology is advancing so fast that if you blink, you’ll miss it. Just think about how radically different the world is today compared to what it was like in 2007. Most people back then hadn’t even heard of Google maps, let alone Twitter.

red laser

Fast forward a decade, and it seems as it technology has gobbled up society whole. It seems as if nothing has been left untouched by its insatiable march toward perfection: not least the manufacturing industry.

Here are some inventions that changed the manufacturing sector forever.


The first laser ever was developed by two scientists from the Soviet Union, Aleksandr Prokhorov and Nikolay Basov way back in 1955. The technology relied on the ability to excite molecules in matter so that they emit light, working in a fundamentally different way to regular sources of artificial light.

The ramifications for manufacturing were enormous. Lasers helped to make the process of cutting and welding more accurate, making once difficult tasks requiring specialists routine. It also had massive repercussions in the medical industry, where lasers are now used to treat problems like poor vision and kidney stones and to carry out invasive surgery.

Then, of course, there are all the consumer products that emerged after the laser revolution. These include things like barcode scanners, laser pens, and even holograms.

Batch Production

Batch production was perhaps the most important invention of the twentieth century when it came to producing uniform small parts. It enabled companies to guarantee sizes and ensure that their product met certain universal standard specifications. It also allowed products to be treated with various coatings en masse, as explained by This meant that it was possible for the first time to have interchangeable parts across industries and applications that could become standard. Standard parts then made it much easier for new businesses to source the components that they needed to make new products.

The Assembly Line

Henry Ford was one of the most important figures to ever work in manufacturing. Cars had been manufactured in Europe since the 19th century, but the way that it was done across the Atlantic never really appealed to Ford. He disliked the fact that each worker had to learn so many skills and spent so much time switching between tasks. He came up with the idea of an assembly line, where each worker specialized at a particular task, becoming proficient in it and saving time and money in the process. Thanks to Ford’s car-building philosophy, manufactured goods got cheaper and the principles of the assembly line spread throughout the industry.

Big Data

Big data is the newest technology on the list, but it’s already being described as “the new electricity.” In other words, it’s a technology whose applications are so broad and whose impact is so vast that it will utterly transform society. Already manufacturing businesses are using big data in their own way to cut costs and better anticipate demand in the market says But it is hoped that big data will eventually allow for much more sophisticated applications, like robots that learn from examples and make decisions on behalf of the company.

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