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Technology adoption, product design, and process change: a case study in the machine tool industry

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1 Author(s)
N. P. Greis ; Kenan Fragler Bus. Sch., North Carolina Univ., Chapel Hill, NC, USA

The experience of the machine tool industry suggests that many manufacturing organizations are reexamining their manufacturing processes and technologies in response both to the need to gain flexibility and efficiency in their operations and to a rising awareness of resource costs and environmental concerns. The adoption of new technologies, especially technologies which reduce material requirements and waste, will require organizations to rethink how they design and manufacture their products. Changes in product and process design will affect the technologies and operations of numerous organizations along the production supply chain. Through a case study of the machine tool industry, this paper explores the impacts of the adoption of forming technology instead of conventional cutting technology on the production of selected metal parts. This paper is organized in three parts. In the first part, the costs, technical advantages, and environmental compatibility of cutting and forming technologies are profiled. Forming technology is shown to provide substantial savings in raw material, energy and waste disposal over cutting technology for a class of high-volume metal parts. The second part explores the changes in part and process design which occur when forming technology is adopted for parts which have traditionally been made by cutting. The costs of these design changes must be balanced against the environmental savings. The third part explores the extent to which changes due to the adoption of new forming technology ripple along the production supply chain to suppliers and other upstream organizations

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 3 )