Complexity, Reliability, and Design: Manufacturing Implications (Revised Version)

Ayres, R.U. (1987). Complexity, Reliability, and Design: Manufacturing Implications (Revised Version). IIASA Working Paper. IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria: WP-87-094

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A major component of IIASA's Technology-Economy-Society (TES) Program is a project to assess "Computer Integrated Manufacturing" (CIM), by which is meant the whole range of application of computers to discrete parts manufacturing and assembly. The various familiar acronyms and buzzwords, such as NC, CNC, DNC, CAD/CAM robotics, FMS, "group technology" and MRP all fit under the broad CIM umbrella. The present paper is the first to be generated, at least in part, under the project. (In fact, an earlier draft was written while the author was at Carnegie-Mellon University). The paper presents some interesting and new ideas about the nature of the forces driving the worldwide trend toward flexible automation. It suggests, in brief, that the demand for CIM arises from what Nathan Rosenberg has termed as "mismatch", i.e. a problem that was created, in effect, by technological progress itself. In this case the "problem" is that defects in manufacturing have become intolerable. The reason for that is that demand for higher and higher levels of product performance, over many decades, has required orders-of-magnitude increases in mechanical complexity, on the one hand, and higher precision, on the other. To satisfy these high standards requires a level of error control that increasingly precludes the use of human workers in direct contact with workpieces as they move through the manufacturing system.

This working paper is being made available more widely to stimulate discussion and comment. We hope that it will succeed in that regard.

Item Type: Monograph (IIASA Working Paper)
Research Programs: Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 01:57
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:12

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