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The authors note that a wide range of manufacturing approaches is possible because, unlike a mainframe or minicomputer, an entire PC can be assembled from as few as half a dozen major parts, all available off the shelf. With relatively few manufacturing operations, labor costs are critical, even if all assembly is done by hand. Standardized design of PC components has yielded further economies. Parts are readily available from a variety of suppliers, and prices are relatively constant regardless of volume. This has encouraged small PC assemblers to enter the field. The current level of automation in PC manufacturing is assessed, and the steps being taken by certain companies toward complete automation are discussed.