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Computer modelling and control of manufacturing systems with particular reference to the tailoring industry

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2 Author(s)
Parnaby, J ; University of Bradford, Manufacturing Systems Design Centre, Bradford, UK ; Billington, D.

There is considerable potential for computers integrated in the manufacturing process at factory and shop-floor level. In particular, owing to their current low price, minicomputers are attractive for use in realtime interactive computer-aided control systems where the supervisory staff are a significant part of the control system. Computers tend to have a low-level of application in a systems engineering sense, i.e. they are typically used for stock control, cataloguing and data processing, which are only elements of a control system. There is much to be done in high-level dynamic feedforward control to help management by incorporating forecasting techniques with manufacturing-system models and assessments of current system state in a dynamic and interactive manner. If this potential can be realised by incorporating computer hardware, visual data-display terminals and information collection devices into the man/machine manufacturing process, then management will be more able to carry out their roles. Complex automation of the factory is not being proposed. On the contrary, it is believed that an appreciation of the computer-system limitations, coupled with the need to exploit modern control theory and computing techniques, will lead to systems in which the key controlling role of the supervisors will be strengthened, becoming dominant and more satisfying. The computer will handle the details of information searching and processing. The man will be the controller. This paper summarises and clarifies techniques by which higher forms of control might be realised.

Published in:

Electrical Engineers, Proceedings of the Institution of  (Volume:123 ,  Issue: 8 )