Automation Essay

325 Words2 Pages
AUTOMATION OF MANUFACTURING PROCESSES Until about four decades ago, most manufacturing operations were carried out on traditional machinery, such as lathes, milling machines, and presses, which lacked flexibility and required considerable skilled labor. Each time a different product was manufactured, the machinery had to be retooled, and the movement of materials had to be rearranged. The development of new products and parts with complex shapes required numerous trial-and-error attempts by the operator to set the proper processing parameters on the machine. Furthermore, because of human involve¬ment, making parts that were exactly alike was difficult. These circumstances meant that processing methods were generally inefficient and that labor costs were a significant portion of overall production costs. The need for reducing the labor share of product cost gradually became apparent, as was the need to improve the efficiency and flexibility of manufacturing operations. This need was particularly significant in terms of increased competition, both nationally and from other industrialized countries. Productivity also became a major concern. Defined as the optimum use of all resources - materials, energy, capital, labor, and technology - or as output per employee per hour, productivity basically measures operating efficiency. With rapid advances in the science and technology of manufacturing and their gradual; implementation, the efficiency of manufacturing operations began to improve and the percentage of total cost represented by labor costs declined. How can productivity be improved? Mechanization of machinery and opera-tions had reached its peak by the 1940s. Mechanization runs a process or operation with the use of various mechanical, hydraulic, pneumatic or electrical devices. Note that, in mechanized systems, the operator still directly controls the process,

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