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Will Parallel Manufacturing Replace Assembly Line Manufacturing?

Henry Ford introduced assembly line manufacturing in 1922 as a way of organizing and scaling production. The production process more or less remained the same for the next 100 years. There were technological improvements on the way; robots replaced people, PLCs replaced manual control, and software replaced paper, but the assembly line remained the same. Now Tesla has proposed a new system: Parallel Manufacturing.

Parallel Manufacturing

Tesla believes that for the fast scaling of  EV manufacturing, they need to rethink the EV manufacturing process from the first principles. By making modular parallel assembly at the sub-process level, it believes there can be a step change in the cost and the time for EV productions. The vehicle will be built and tested in a few modules, and the final assembly will be done at one time only. Tesla developed this process for Model Y. The concept of parallel manufacturing is explained in the below image and the video.

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The discussion below by Tesla executives captures the key points

According to Tesla, the key benefits of Parallel Manufacturing are

  • 40% Reduction in Space (Less capex, more factory space availability, and faster factory construction)
  • 50% Reduction in Cost (A combination of capex and opex)
  • 44% Operator Density Improvement (Less time doing nothing)
  • 30% Space Time Efficiency Improvement (Less time walking to the station)


 Parallel Manufacturing and Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 aim was to bring a step change in productivity, efficiency, flexibility, and quality in manufacturing operations by leveraging new technology. It was an enabler of mass customization.

 The results have been mixed till now. The fully decentralized manufacturing with 3D printing and micro-factories has not picked up speed. And the usage of technology without changing the core assembly line process has limitations in performance gains.

 The core assembly process may need reengineering along with Industry 4.0 for better outcomes. So parallel manufacturing can complement Industry 4.0 and help auto manufacturers to get to the next level of manufacturing performance.


Bottom Line: Tesla has talked about the possibilities and benefits of parallel manufacturing in EV production. However, the concept of parallel manufacturing can be extended beyond EV to other automotive and discrete manufacturing. Already Industry 4.0 revolution is on the way with different manufacturers at a different level of adoption. If the combination of the parallel manufacturing paradigm and Industry 4.0 is successful, then the discrete manufacturing industry can reach its aspiration of producing quality goods efficiently, quickly, and in a cost-effective way across the world.  

Pareekh Jain

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Gridlove Pareekh Jain Founder of Pareekh Consulting & EIIRTrends