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Currently, many manufacturing functions are automated through the use of computers and associated equipment. The support of ,administrative functions such as material and labor control to regulate costs and measure results is aided by the use of medium to large computers at the plant site or through communications to a central computer site. The control of processes, such as testing and assembly, are improved through the use of mini- and microprocessors' as well as programmable controllers. The engineering problem solving and design now involve the use of hand-held and desktop calculators as well as time-shared and remote processing on a central computer. All of these things have but one basic goal: cost effective manufacturing. This article outlines one possible path for advancement toward that goal, based on existing applications and computer systems capabilities. As always, the final challenge is related to our ability to cost effectively design and implement the processes which use the tools we have or can acquire.
Date of Publication: Dec 1975