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App. B—Commissioned Background Papers

3

AS a result of intensifying market pressures, there have been sharply increased efforts in recent years to improve the cost competitiveness of manu- facturing operations devoted to a limited variety of products required in

volumes ranging from relatively small to moderate. most small and intermediate manufacturing plants as

Such well

needs are dominant in as even in large plants

manufacturing

capital

goods.

By

far

the

most

important

advance

in

such

capa-

bilities

has

come

from

the

development

of

computerization

and

related

communication

and instrumentation capabilities.

These permit the utilization of replaceable

programmed instructions in combination with given equipment to turn out varying amounts with little or no operator requirements.

programmable controls to enable of a succession of different parts

In order to help clarify the broad potentials of the resulting revolution in manufacturing technology which will be unfolding with accelerating rapidity

over the next decade, it may being generated as a result.

be useful to illustrate the interconnected Increasingly, the process will begin with

changes computer-

aided design (CAD), with engineers developing new designs on the screen of a terminal by specifying certain points on the screen and tapping instructions concerning the desired shapes and dimensions of the configurations to be drawn

around them.

The key point to

the design shown on model of all of its

the screen features.

or

data

base,

for

an

expanding

understand is that in the course of projecting the computer is storing a detailed mathematical

It then becomes possible to use this

array

of

purposes.

For

example,

the

information, resulting

definition of the dimensions and in computer programs to generate

configurations of the designed part such manufacturing requirements as:

may

be

used

  • 1.

    a schedule of the sequence of machines to be used in producing the part;

  • 2.

    specific operating instructions for each machine as well as identification of the tools required to perform such operations;

  • 3.

    dimensional criteria for testing conformance of the finished part with design requirements;

  • 4.

    production schedules specifying individual machine assignments to accord with estimated machining time required for each part and with previously scheduled machine loadings as well as delivery dates;

  • 5.

    estimates of the unit cost of each operation, including the wages of the operator;

  • 6.

    estimates of total unit costs of producing specified products may be used to determine bids for contracts; and

  • ‚óŹ

    93

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