Considered the world’s largest industry, manufacturing transforms billions of raw materials into useful products. Like all real processes and systems, manufacturing processes and equipment are subject to the first and second laws of thermodynamics and can be modeled via thermodynamic formulations. This article presents a simple thermodynamic model of a manufacturing sub-process or task, assuming multiple tasks make up the entire process. For example, to manufacture a machined component such as an aluminum gear, tasks include cutting the original shaft into gear blanks of desired dimensions, machining the gear teeth, surfacing, etc. The formulations presented here, assessing the workpiece and the machinery via entropy generation, apply to hand-crafting. However, consistent isolation and measurement of human energy changes due to food intake and work output alone pose a significant challenge; hence, this discussion focuses on standardized product-forming processes typically via machine fabrication.
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