What is the name of the profession of creating factories/production lines?

I’m fascinated by production lines, where stuff goes in one end and new stuff comes out the other end. I’m familiar with the engineering that goes in to inventing each machine, and the computer programming that goes in to automating the machines. But who comes up with what machines should be in line and how they should be placed and timed? I’ve never met anyone that does this.

I believe the general term is ‘industrial engineer’.

Thanks @zimanne!

Any Dopers in this profession? It seems like it is a HIGHLY skilled profession and much in demand.

It’s also called process or motors & controls engineering. My dad spent his entire career as an engineer designing plants that produced things from raw material to finished products: pulp & paper, aluminum, oil & tar sands, even Nestle foods plants. I spent a couple of summers working in the same engineering company while I was studying computer science. One of the most memorable projects I had was working with engineers and designers in developing a fluid dynamic calculation program for fluids of various viscosities flowing through various piping, filters and pumps. They’d provide the specs and formulas for calculations and I’d code them into desktop apps to help them with their calculations of how fast various processes needed to move as part of the production line.

I design industrial control systems for a living.

As far as who figures out what to put and where to put it, there’s usually a whole bunch of people involved, industrial engineers, mechanical engineers, chemical engineers, process engineers, electrical and control system engineers, etc. There are also safety people involved, folks from management, bean counters, there’s all kinds of stuff involved. It’s never one guy deciding what goes where.

Depending on what is being made, the basic design might be split up into sections. In a large brewery for example, the guy designing the section with the brew kettles and such isn’t going to be the same guy who designs the bottling line.

I have worked on steel mills, chemical plants, pharmaceutical plants, plastics manufacturing plants, food processing plants, corn processing plants, breweries, ethanol production plants, and a couple of sites that make nuclear weapons. I also worked in a coal-fired power plant for a while, which isn’t really a factory but the control system stuff is similar.

If you ask about the nuclear weapon stuff I’m just going to say no comment. But feel free to ask about any of the other stuff.

I support people in this field quite often since they use instruments my employer sells. The engineering titles are quite varied.
Others not already mentioned are manufacturing eng & automation eng.
We sometimes hear the term integrator for someone (or a team or company) that makes things that were never specifically designed to work with each other do so which happens a lot in manufacturing. The robot and conveyer need to index against each other based on the position of a part as seen by a machine vision system.

How many tons of raw corn would be required to make a 10 kT yield tactical desert?

How do small start-ups even begin to get manufacturing rolling? There’s so many machines and people involved. It’s gotta be super expensive!

And how does a company like BarkBox manufacture 432 distinct toys in a year? Their toys have some similar elements but they are all pretty unique. It’s got to be expensive just to have the capabilities to be able to re-program a line for each toy.

In college we called them “imaginary engineers”. Fairly common next stop for those who discover that their original choice (electrical, mechanical, or chemical engineering) wasn’t working out - intro courses in the other fields could also be applied towards industrial engineering course requirements.

IEs generally took overview classes designed primarily for them in each of the other engineering departments as well as a few more business classes (cost accounting, maybe?) than the ECO 1 class that pretty much everyone took.

How do small start-ups even begin to get manufacturing rolling? There’s so many machines and people involved. It’s gotta be super expensive!

Sometimes it is just talent and imagination. I worked for a small company that made soft pellets for fish food. Most of the machines in the industry are California Pellet Mills that produce a hard pellet.

We got a couple of old Bribanti pasta extruders, for making noodles, and replaced the electric motors with hydraulics, sped up the knives to cut faster, and a few other modifications, and had some really fine soft pellet extruders. One talented engineer, a little CAD and your imagination. I am no longer there and wasn’t the engineer, but he probably still has a framed letter from the Bribanti company that says “you can’t do that with these machines”. Millions of pounds each month, for years.

My guess is they outsource the production.

And then you get to design supply chains and logistics.

Ok so does that mean there is some factory somewhere that can “re-tool” enough to make 432 distinct dog toys in a year? Or are you saying there’s probably dozens of factories employed?

BTW the page I linked to about BarkBox does say they have 7 industrial engineers on staff…

Yes, there are dozens of factories employed. They’re called China.

Ok man no need to be rude about it. I know NOTHING about manufacturing and I’m trying to learn.

Assuming that a tactical dessert would be flambeed in 151 proof alcohol: Pure ethanol has an energy of combustion of approximately 24 MJ/kg, which would mean that the booze in question would have 3/4 that, or 18 MJ/kg. A 10 kiloton explosion releases 4.2e13 joules, so our flambe will need 2.3e6 kg of bourbon (this is less than 10 tons, because ethanol, unlike TNT, need not include its own oxidizer).

I’m having a hard time finding the amount of corn needed to produce a given quantity of bourbon, but it looks like it’s close to 1:1. So we’d need a few thousand tons of corn.

This is why I fucking love this place. :custard: :tumbler_glass: :fire:

Post-war Japan (and other places) even outsourced industrial production [bits of cars, electronics, toys etc] down to individual households, who could have a lathe, sewing machine or some other small bit of gear, and they would make a single component that eventually ended up in a Toyota. As cash became available and quality assurance became more important they relied less on this and began factoryizing. It may still apply as a model for small runs of soft toys or assemblies.

My neighbours watched TV while they assembled biros - a box of springs, box of ink tubes, box of pen bodies and the clicky end bit. They’d do a few thousand a night, for years on end, so probably well over a million pens coming out of one suburban house. One node in a complex industrial engineering chain.

I’m getting nightmarish values of ~460 (maximum value) gallons per acre of corn.
One acre of corn produces 135 bushels, according to Maryland’s MDA website.
One bushel of corn is 56 pounds, and I’m presuming that’s useful crop.
One gallon of 100% ethanol weighs 7 pounds.

Oi. One acre of corn gives ~1500 kilos of ethanol.
That same acre yields ~3500 kilos of corn, or a ratio of 0.4 ethanol/corn.

Ethanol absolutely will need oxidizer to combust completely, but I’m going to skip that as irrelevant.

Going with the previous numbers for combustion energy and the energy release of 10 kt TNT, my numbers give me (4.2e13 J / 2.4E7 J/kg) a value of 1.75 million kilograms of ethanol, or ~4.4 million kilos of corn.

Frankly, this makes sense. With respect, I’m having a hard time believing that corn is more explosive than TNT. Our weapon names would have been… much cornier, to say the least.

More energetic is not the same thing as more explosive.