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ICT in Manufacturing.

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Introduction

Chapter 3 - ICT in Manufacturing 1. Introduction In the face of ever-increasing competition from international market, many labour-intensive manufacturing companies face a stark choice: automation, or evaporate. Here are some of the many ways in which computers are used in the manufacturing world. * Order entry and processing systems accept and process customer orders. A fully integrated system will also calculate the quantity and cost of materials needed to make the items ordered, produce reports on any shortages of materials in stock that need to be ordered and raise the purchase order. It will then track the progress of the order through the manufacturing process so that customer queries can be answered. * Project management software provides management with the information necessary to keep projects within budget and on time. Reports can be produced showing actual costs versus projected costs, and the number of days ahead or behind schedule. * Expert systems can be used in a multitude of ways from calculating the cost of a new multi-storey office block to detecting when a batch of beer is ready for the next stage of the brewing process. ...read more.

Middle

4. Computer-aided Manufacturing (CAM) Computer-aided design is often linked to computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). CAD/CAM systems are used in the design and manufacture of thousands of applications from aeroplane and car parts to office furnishings and sports equipment. When the design of the product is completed, the specifications are input directly into a program that controls the manufacturing of parts. A great advantage of these systems is their flexibility: individual items can be manufactured to a customer's exact specifications. 5. Case study: Subcontracting sector uses ICT Precimax was founded in 1988 and has grown to a 30-employee company with an anticipated turnover in 1997 of �1.4 million. It offers a full manufacturing service from initial design through to supply of fully finished components and assembles. Production is predominantly on CNC (computer numeric control) turning and machining centres, and programs can be created from customer's drawings or directly from CAD via modem or disk. Batches range from one-off up to 5,000, but are more typically in the 50 to 500 brackets. In size, turned components measure up to 250mm diameter. Precimax is a major supplier of components for train braking and door systems and is currently producing parts for use in the platform edge doors for London Underground's Jubilee Line extension. ...read more.

Conclusion

What happens when demand for a product slumps? Would a manufacturer be better advised to stick with manual workers, who can be laid off and rehired when times improve? 8. Exercises 1) Computers and information technology are widely used in manufacturing industries. Give three different examples of their use in manufacturing, and in each case discuss a. The benefits to the company, the customers and the employees b. The possible drawbacks to the company, the customers and the employees. 2) Research an application of computers and ICT in manufacturing. Describe briefly the end product, the reasons for using ICT and the software and hardware used. What group of people benefits most from the use of ICT in the application you have described? Is any other group of people disadvantaged? Briefly explain your answers. 3) Describe briefly one application for robots in industry. Explain two advantages of using robots in the application you described. 4) Some manufacturers are deciding to re-employ people on the shop floor and retire their robots. Give one argument to support this action and one argument against it. 5) The use of computer-controlled machinery in manufacturing and product assembly has become widespread. Give two benefits for the manufacturer, other than financial, and two implications for the employees of such automation. ...read more.

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