The assembly line dates back to the 19th century where it was used in the meat packing industry in Cincinnati, Ohio, and Chicago, Illinois. Workers remained in one place and performed one task on the carcass. Industrial assembly line work increases production and allows the employer to quickly train workers. Minimum skills are necessary to work an assembly line, increasing the number of prospective employees a company could hire.
Industrial assembly line workers must stand in one area for long periods of time. Any person with knee, back or foot problems cannot perform the task of an assembly line worker for an entire shift, especially with minimal breaks. The physical ability to move freely and have sufficient reflexes to perform the same tasks repeatedly are also physical skills required to work on an assembly line.
Employees working on an industrial assembly line must have good hand-eye coordination, which is the ability to visually control the hands at a rapid or constant rate. They perform the same task repeatedly, using their hands and power tools to complete the task. As the machine moves at a constant speed, the task must be performed at a constant rate, so the assembly line will not be interrupted.
Communications skills are essential for working on an industrial assembly line. Orally communicating with other workers on the line makes the assembly line run efficiently. Any problems or information that must be passed on to the next assembly worker must be orally communicated before further problems arise. Clear speech patterns and good hearing are important.
Most industrial assembly lines require workers to be mechanically inclined. Workers must have the ability to easily learn how to use a variety of hand tools. Many tasks on an industrial assembly line require these tools to tighten bolts, drill holes, screw in nuts or mount parts on a frame.
The development of new technologies in the industrial assembly line process has required the need for more workers to have computer skills. Most of the computer skills necessary concern data entry procedures for documenting completed tasks, but also using computers to test parts or completed products.