There are several components involved with assembly work, from sorting parts to packaging products. Often, assembly work involves the placement of an employee at one point of an assembly line where he or she will repeat a single process over and over for eight to 12 hours per day. There are positions on an assembly line where a worker simply loads the line with product, and as the components travel along the assembly line, other workers add pieces and parts until the finished product comes off the end of the line. In home assembly work, a single worker typically assembles a complete product from boxes of different parts and then sends them back to the company to be packaged and shipped to buyers.
The first successful assembly work is typically credited to the automobile manufacturing industry. By placing workers along an assembly line, the manufacturers found that automobiles could be built less expensively and in increased numbers. Most assembly lines operate much like a typical automobile assembly line, where the main chassis of the product is placed on the assembly line first. As the chassis moves along the line, employees conduct assembly work as parts are fastened onto the chassis. This process holds true from trucks to toasters all over the world.
Workers typically use tools to drill, screw and bolt components together as the product travels along the assembly line. Periodically, inspectors will make spot checks to measure quality, tolerances and precision of the various stages of assembly work. This aids in reducing mistakes as workers understand any component could be the one that is tested. With some products, electrical tests are also included in the quality control test where lights, motors and sound components are also checked. If a serious defect is noted, the line may be stopped until the problem can be remedied.
When performing assembly work while working at home, a lone worker commonly completes all stages of assembly from start to finish. In this type of procedure, the parts are typically sent to the assembler, who is responsible for separating them into individual groups. Following a set of assembly instructions, the worker builds a product that may or may not be packaged at the point of assembly. Occasionally, sub-assemblies are sent to several workers' homes where each worker completes a stage of the build and sends it back to the factory where it is sent to the next worker's address and further assembly work takes place.