A review of the product development and manufacturing advancements of the last 200 years show just how far the industry has come and how rapidly it continues to evolve. Innovations that defied imagination only decades ago have forever altered what we’ve come to expect from everyday products, and the innovations of the future will be no less mind-boggling. To illustrate, the following is a timeline of some of the most history making innovations—and incremental advances—in product development and manufacturing.
1791: Alexander Hamilton brings manufacturing to the legislative fore
In 1791, Alexander Hamilton presented his “Report on Manufacturing” to Congress. The report implored lawmakers to make American manufacturing a policy-making priority. Hamilton conceived of an American economy strengthened by industrial mass-production. The “Report on Manufacturing” was a harbinger of prevalent product development manufacturing in the USA.
1798: “Just-In-Time Production” and “Lean Manufacturing” are set in motion
Eli Whitney laid the groundwork for JIT production and lean manufacturing by utilizing interchangeable parts — identical parts used for mass production — at his armory. Before interchangeable parts, products were typically built as a single unit. This meant that if the product were damaged, the entire product would have to be replaced. By contrast, if an interchangeable part breaks, it can be easily swapped with a duplicate.
1820: The Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution made machine-driven production the new norm. No longer did every product have to be built by hand. This development allowed manufacturers to save a great deal of time and money.
1913: Ford establishes the moving assembly line
The moving assembly line was born out of Henry Ford’s manufacturing of automobiles. Ford’s assembly line managed to decrease the amount of time it took to build a car from over 12 hours to “two hours and thirty minutes.“
1962: The first visible LED
Nick Holonyak was a scientist at General Electrics when he discovered what we now know as the first visible light-emitting diode. Today, LED lights can last as long as 22 years.
1980: Chuck Hull invents the 3D printer
While working at a small company that made furniture coatings with UV lamps, Chuck Hull was determined to figure out a way to accelerate the prototyping process. Hull thought that “if he could place thousands of thin layers of plastic on top of each other and then etch their shape using light, he would be able to form three dimensional objects.“ After years of hard work, Chuck Hull printed his first object: an eye-wash cup. Today, the possibilities with 3D printing are endless.
2019: Pivot International expands production capacity in SMT
A leading design, engineering, and manufacturing firm, Pivot International, expanded its production capacity with a strategic investment in Surface Mount Technology (SMT). SMT is a method for producing electronic circuits in which the components are mounted or placed directly onto the surface of printed circuit boards (PCBs). The technology has broad application and ensures highly accurate execution of high-volume production.
It’s safe to say that time will bring even more innovations in product development manufacturing. Companies that possess the agility to adopt the newest technologies and adapt to accelerating trends will continue to dominate the industry.
Pivot International’s ongoing commitment to adaptation has made it a rapidly growing industry leader with facilities in the US and overseas alike. With a track record of over forty years of expert experience in partnering with manufacturers to optimize their operations, and with businesses to help them successfully launch new products, we’re one of the most trusted names product development manufacturing. Contact us today and see what we can do for you!