The manufacturing of various products is done at different scales ranging from humble domestic production of say candlesticks to the manufacturing of huge machines including ships, aeroplanes and so forth. The word manufacturing technology is mainly used for the latter range of the spectrum of manufacturing, and refers to the commercial industrial production of goods for sale and consumption with the help of gadgets and advanced machine tools. Industrial production lines involve changing the shape, form and/or composition of the initial products known as raw materials into products fit for final use known as finished products.
The subject of manufacturing technology is very vast and includes various types of machines tools required to manufacture finished products which range from simple hand-held tools, lathe machines, grinders, milling machines to highly versatile and complicated computerised numerical control or CNC machines and so forth. Of course it also involves several different techniques of manufacturing which can be a subject matter of different details discussion and some of these include casting, forging, alloying, welding, soldering, brazing etc. each of these techniques have their own advantages and limitations and are a specialized field of knowledge in their own right.
Another related discipline which does not necessarily fall strictly within the definition and scope of manufacturing technology, but can be said to complement the same is material science. Manufacturing is done by use of metals and materials of different kinds such as semiconductors and alloys hence the importance and knowledge of the same in the field of manufacturing technology cannot be underestimated at any cost. Material science basically deals with the property of materials and their behaviour under different circumstances and environments which is extremely useful and necessary if those materials are to be worked around to manufacture any sort of finished products using them.
Any person wanting to specialize in the area of manufacturing technology needs to master various principles and techniques many of which have been mentioned in the preceding sections. Usually the training starts from learning the very basics of machine workshop including tools and simple procedures such as filing, drilling, boring, honing etc. and goes on to the use of more complicated tools and techniques involving the use of heavy and versatile machine tools.
With the advancement of science and technology, even manufacturing has been reaching new frontiers and specialized needs such as light and strong materials for spacecrafts have led to the development of newer materials which are stronger than steel yet many times lighter than the same. Combined with other branches of engineering such as computing, electronics, automation etc. this branch of mechanical engineering is certainly set to break all barriers in the coming future.