ICT in Manufacturing Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 08:25:15
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Category: Manufacturing

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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.

Bass the brewers has built a machine that can perform the daunting task of smelling beer and deciding if its up to snuff. The technology that makes this possible is neural computing, the revolutionary process that mimics the way the human brain works. The artificial nose makes a complex series of judgements based on the electrochemical stimuli received by its gas sensors, and could save the brewers a fortune.

By detecting an over-active yeast or a weak crop of hops at an early stage in the fermentation process, the nose could save us having to throw away a whole batch 345,600 pints of beer, explained Ian Morris of Bass. It is not just brewers who are interested in the artificial nose. Manufacturers of instant coffee, perfume and other aromatic products are spending huge sums, in co-operation with researchers at several universities, to build a better-than-human olfactory sensor. Source: Garth Alexander, The Sunday Times 19 September 1993.

CAD systems allow designers and engineers to create designs on screen for thousands of products ranging from the tiniest computer chip to bridges, buildings and aeroplanes. The software allows users to create 3-dimensional solid models with physical characters like volume, weight and centre of gravity. The models can be rotated and viewed from any angle, edited and sorted. The computer can perform calculations to evaluate its performance under different stresses, or crash-test a new design of a car before it is even manufactured.

Animation software can be used to enable a viewer to Walk through a 3-D model of say, a building that exists only in the computers memory. Precimax was founded in 1988 and has grown to a 30-employee company with an anticipated turnover in 1997 of i?? 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 customers 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 Undergrounds Jubilee Line extension. It also has a contract with a postal equipment manufacturer for monthly deliveries of rollers and other parts for letter-sorting machines.

Precimax uses Datatrack for Windows for keeping track of its annual 3,000 orders. The system includes estimating and quoting sales order processing, purchasing, job costing and delivery. The commercial director commented, A system to handle this level of business is essential. Without it, we would be lost. It enables us to control cost and better understand our customers and manufacture. It gives us accurate information, so we can communicate with our customers on cost and deliveries quickly and with confidence.

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