Feb 5 2020
A 1975 Technology Forecast | M. E. Marchant | AFIPS Proceedings
“A recent Delphi-type forecast of the future of manufacturing carried out by the International Institution for Production Engineering Research (CIRP) resulted in 94 forecast events on which good consensus was obtained. Of these, 24, or over one-fourth, strongly indicated that the computer-integrated automatic factory would be a full-blown reality well before the end of this century. The three key events which summarize this aspect of that forecast are as follows:
- By 1980 (median), a computer software system for full automation and optimization of all steps in the manufacturing of a part will be developed and in wide use.
- By 1985 (median), full on-line automation and optimization of complete manufacturing plants, controlled by a central computer, will be a reality.
- By 1990 (median), more than 50 percent of the machine tools produced will not have a “stand-alone” use, but will be part of a versatile manufacturing system, featuring automatic part handling between stations, and being controlled from a central process computer.”
Source: ACM Digital Library
Michel Baudin‘s comments: Thanks to Torbjørn Netland for digging up this gem, which puts the current claims about Industry 4.0 in perspective.
A Delphi-type forecast is based on questionnaires sent to a panel of experts in multiple rounds. Each expert sees the aggregate results of the previous round and modifies answers to arrive at a consensus. In other words, it’s subjective group-think.
Like most of science-fiction, these forecasts both overestimate technology and fail to anticipate its evolution. A “central computer ” was going to do everything. The paper is from 1975, a year after the first personal computer came out, the Altair 8800. At that time, PLCs and minicomputers like DEC’s PDP-11s were already taking over industrial control functions from mainframes.
The author worked for a machine-tool company, Cincinnati-Milacron, and seems to equate manufacturing with metalworking. Machine tools, today, are primarily used in automotive and aerospace; it is only a fraction of manufacturing as a whole.
#automation, #CIM, #industry4.0, #technologyforecast
Nov 12 2022
Automation and People
This is the first in a series of posts about learnings from the Van of Nerds tour of 11 manufacturing sites in Northern France completed on September 9. First, I describe who we are, why and how we went on this tour. Then, to make this post more than just an introduction, I appended a summary of our observations on automation and people. There is more to come.
By Michel Baudin • Van of Nerds • 6 • Tags: Automation, I4.0, Industry 4.0, Information technology, IT, jidoka, Lean, Operational Technoloy, OT