ch1-Design of Automatic Machinery

ch1-Design of Automatic Machinery - 1 Introduction...

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1 Introduction Automation: designing, building and implementing automatic machines. How can such an intriguing concept that has the potential to keep manufacturing located domestically also cause some to be so concerned? The image of intelli- gent machines producing thousands of quality products for less cost is the dream of many an engineer. But to the current worker at the plant who might be replaced, automation is a potential nightmare. Depending on one’s role in this world, the impact of automation can cause excitement or fear. Let us look at some of these roles to gain an initial view before we start to think about designing and building an automatic machine: . Manufacturing Director — International competition continues to pressure almost all manufacturing operations to reduce production costs. Because labor costs rarely go down, and many workers are oper- ating at reasonably optimal rates, there are no significant gains to be made. Automation, if possible, is a goal of most Manufacturing Direc- tors to remove labor and increase output and quality. Internal manufac- turing means greater control of production. . Company CEO — In addition to the concerns of the Manufacturing Director, the CEO is also concerned about employee injuries, Work- man’s Compensation costs, and the flexibility to raise or lower pro- duction outputs if market conditions change. Many a CEO would like to keep production onshore rather than move it to a Third World nation. 1 Copyright © 2005 by Marcel Dekker
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. Stockholders — To be viable, an investment needs to be placed in a company that has room to grow when markets increase. Adding auto- mation is often easier than finding skilled employees willing to work third shift. So a company that is highly automated can be perceived to be a good long-term investment. . Current Company Worker — They have the most reason to be con- cerned with the implementing of automation. Some may lose their jobs, while others may be retrained and relocated to maintain the auto- mated production. Fully automated, or “lights out” facilities, are not always cost-effective. However, the jobs that will be replaced are often ones that seem like drudgery and lead to repetitive motion injuries or other physical risks. In society as a whole, there are hopefully better jobs to be done that require the intelligence of a human being, but remaining competitive means staying in business. . Sales Representatives — If a machine is to be sold to many customers, a set of independent representatives are often formed; or it could be your own company’s sales force. Your new automation must generate enough cost savings to make the sale. It needs to be a better mousetrap at a good price to be selected over the competition.
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ch1-Design of Automatic Machinery - 1 Introduction...

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