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Automated Manufacturing: “This Is Automation” 1955 General Electric

Miscellaneous Technology playlist:  at  history of automation, and descriptions of how automation was improving factory productivity in the 1950s.Reupload of a previously uploaded film with improved video & sound.Public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archives, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and one-pass brightness-contrast-color correction & mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and/or equalization (the resulting sound, though not perfect, is far less noisy than the original). is the use of machines, control systems and information technologies to optimize productivity in the production of goods and delivery of services. The correct incentive for applying automation is to increase productivity, and/or quality beyond that possible with current human labor levels so as to realize economies of scale, and/or realize predictable quality levels. The incorrect application of automation, which occurs most often, is an effort to eliminate or replace human labor. Simply put, whereas correct application of automation can net as much as 3 to 4 times original output with no increase in current human labor costs, incorrect application of automation can only save a fraction of current labor level costs. In the scope of industrialisation, automation is a step beyond mechanisation. Whereas mechanisation provides human operators with machinery to assist them with the muscular requirements of work, automation greatly decreases the need for human sensory and mental requirements while increasing load capacity, speed, and repeatability. Automation plays an increasingly important role in the world economy and in daily experience.Automation has had a notable impact in a wide range of industries beyond manufacturing (where it began). Once-ubiquitous telephone operators have been replaced largely by automated telephone switchboards and answering machines. Medical processes such as primary screening in electrocardiography or radiography and laboratory analysis of human genes, sera, cells, and tissues are carried out at much greater speed and accuracy by automated systems. Automated teller machines have reduced the need for bank visits to obtain cash and carry out transactions. In general, automation has been responsible for the shift in the world economy from industrial jobs to service jobs in the 20th and 21st centuries.The term automation, inspired by the earlier word automatic (coming from automaton), was not widely used before 1947, when General Motors established the automation department. At that time automation technologies were electrical, mechanical, hydraulic and pneumatic. Between 1957 and 1964 factory output nearly doubled while the number of blue collar workers started to decline…Reliability and precisionThe old focus on using automation simply to increase productivity and reduce costs was seen to be short-sighted, because it is also necessary to provide a skilled workforce who can make repairs and manage the machinery. Moreover, the initial costs of automation were high and often could not be recovered by the time entirely new manufacturing processes replaced the old. (Japan’s “robot junkyards” were once world famous in the manufacturing industry.)Automation is now often applied primarily to increase quality in the manufacturing process, where automation can increase quality substantially. For example, internal combustion engine pistons used to be installed manually. This is rapidly being transitioned to automated machine installation, because the error rate for manual installment was around 1-1.5%, but has been reduced to 0.00001% with automation.Health and environmentThe costs of automation to the environment are different depending on the technology, product or engine automated. There are automated engines that consume more energy resources from the Earth in comparison with previous engines and those that do the opposite too. Hazardous operations, such as oil refining, the manufacturing of industrial chemicals, and all forms of metal working, were always early contenders for automation.
Convertibility and turnaround timeAnother major shift in automation is the increased demand for flexibility and convertibility in manufacturing processes. Manufacturers are increasingly demanding the ability to easily switch from manufacturing Product A to manufacturing Product B without having to completely rebuild the production lines…Digital electronics helped too…