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Mass production for the aircraft-engine industry.

"Until the year 1939, the Wright Aeronautical Corporation had been producing in small lots varying from one to rarely more than fifty engines. Not only was the total, output quite small, but more than a score of different models were in production, all of which were subjected to major or minor changes as the continuous development program proceeded. Under such conditions, therefore, the use of special=purpose, high-production equipment would have been entirely unjustified....

With the outbreak of war in Europe, however, there came a sudden demand for large quantities of engines of a single type, and for the first time it became feasible to consider the possibilities of straight-line production. There was no precedent upon which calculations could be based or any guarantee that it would be possible with automatic equipment to hold the extreme accuracy and fine finishes demanded for this class of work.... Our first step, therefore, consisted of installing such special machine tools as could be obtained in a reasonably short time and using them as a proving ground to test the practicability of production ideas such as has never been tried in our industry.

Output was almost immediately doubled, but this was far from being sufficient to meet the ever-increasing demands of Great Britain and France. Additional. floor space was imperative, and a new plant was therefore constructed adjacent to the original, one."

By H.E. Linstey, Wright Aeronautical Corporation, Paterson, N.J.

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Title Annotation:from the vault: February 1942: 70 years ago this month in Mechanical Engineering magazine
Author:Linsley, H.E.
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Feb 1, 2012
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