A final assembly is the last stage in the manufacturing process, the point where the components of a product are put together and it is prepared for delivery. Whether products are being made to order for custom applications or rolled off an assembly line in high volume, they are finished and contain all of their parts after final assembly. This stage also provides an opportunity for a quality control inspection so that the factory workers can confirm that the product meets the standards set out by management.
The length of time the assembly process takes from start to final assembly varies depending on the product and the facility. Mass produced products are generally made more quickly because they utilize standard components. Products with special features and custom additions may take longer because certain steps may vary. Assembly line supervisors time product production and attempt to keep assembly times below a set target.
The layout of a manufacturing line can be organized in many different ways. It is not uncommon for separate components to be made on separate lines and to converge at the point of final assembly. These major components are put together and the finishing touches are added to create a complete product. Manufacturing on separate lines also easily allows for the use of interchangeable components on products in the same line. This can increase efficiency, lower costs, and streamline the manufacturing process.
In final assembly, the last of the product components are added in or packaged with the product so that they can be added by a dealer or consumer after delivery, depending on the product. Protective wrappings for transit are applied to ensure that the product will ship safely with minimal risk of damage. If the product has identification and serial numbers, they are checked and logged to create a record that will stay with the product for life so that when consumers call with servicing questions, their products can be quickly looked up.
Workers involved in the final assembly check to confirm that all components are present and installed correctly. They may perform tests on mechanical components and a checklist is usually followed to ensure that the final product is comprehensively examined before it is sent out the door for shipping. Especially for things like aircraft and cars, this stage of the assembly process is very important as a mistake could be very costly and potentially even deadly.