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2017 | Book

Expectations and Disappointments of Industrial Innovations


About this book

The Integrated Manufacturing System (IMS), Group Technology, Numerical Control, and Computer Aided Design (CAD) were four outstanding innovations that were one-time milestones of scientific industrial management. This book describes the expectations and disappointments of the common pitfalls of these ingenious ideas, which leads to understanding of their gradual disappearing, and proposes a way to restore these methods for long term utility and value.

The first three innovations dominated the industry till the mid-1970s. Surprisingly, the reason for them being replaced is the same: research of the “routine” was misleading regardless of its ingenuity. In the fourth case, CAD does not support CAPP (Computer Aided Process Planning) and thus Numerical Control could no longer support developments of a system such as a flexible and automated factory. However, they incorporate many features in a specific resource instead within a manufacturing system. CAD technology and machining centers remain remarkable as a specific (unique) manufacturing resource. This work proposes ways to revive these innovations for the future.

Innovation is a driver for the development of new products and production methods. It should be an integral part of a system and not pursued for its own sake. This volume shows, explains, and remedies this by treating these interesting examples.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction
Manufacturing has been represented over time by a number of different technique. The initial craftsman technique involved tailoring production to individual customer needs. The craftsman technique was succeeded by the remarkable innovation of the mass production technique, in which a small set of products could be made in large volumes. This, in turn, led to batch production for smaller volumes and varied products. But a number of industries were dissatisfied with the results of their contemporary production management and were looking for other methods that would enable them to increase production efficiency, particularly the metal-cutting manufacturing industries; it is an amazing fact that two different methods, group technology and numerical control, were proposed in two different parts of the world at around the same time (circa the 1950s) with the same objective, i.e., reducing throughput time. These methods are discussed in this chapter.
Gideon Halevi
Chapter 2. Group Technology
Remarkable and Destructive Innovations
This chapter describes Group Technology (GT) objectives and methods. The main goal of GT is toward reducing throughput time in manufacturing single or small quantity of items. The proposed method is by reducing the waiting time of items on shop floor (95%) which is achieved by organizing the factory into work cell that can manufacture a family of parts. GT users claims of 230% rise in labour productivity and 240% rise in shop output. The concepts of GT spread and was used in many tasks as: process planning; concept design; purchasing; cost estimating; etc. The broad meaning of GT now covers all areas of the manufacturing process. General definition of GT concept is: “Group Technology” is the realization that many problems are similar and that by grouping together similar problems, a single solution can be found to a set of problems, thus saving time and effort.
Gideon Halevi
Chapter 3. Numerical Control
Remarkable Innovation
The development and application of numerical control (NC) systems are described in this chapter. NC is an extraordinary technology, upon which most industrial resources are based. Starting from simple NC machines, the method evolved into Direct Numerical Control (DNC) and then into systems such as Industrial Robots, AS/RS, Machining centers, and, in a return of sorts, into Cellular Manufacturing. The incredible computerized machines has greatly contributed to flexibility in manufacturing, although this only applies to the hardware capabilities. Manufacturing, however, is sustained on two legs: hardware and software. The software is lagging behind in this respect and could practically be considered the missing link in system flexibility.
Gideon Halevi
Chapter 4. Integrated Manufacturing Systems
This chapter describes the development of the manufacturing process since the mid-1960s when management turned to a more scientific approach. The introduction of computers found ready ground for their implementation. Computers enabled the use of complex algorithms to regulate and control the manufacturing process, and thereby introduced better planning and control. These manufacturing control systems dominated the industry up until the early 80s. The dominant methods and concepts were: Management Information System (MIS); Production and Inventory Control Systems (PICS); Material Requirement Planning (MRP); and Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM). The fact that these systems could not deliver the required control and benefits created a need for a new paradigm for manufacturing methods. In addition, the competitive market of the late 1980s and early 1990s imposed new demands and objectives on the manufacturing process that required a similar paradigm. More than 140 proposals were presented, none of which became “the” manufacturing method. Most of them made use of “routine,” which makes the system complex and does not satisfy the cost control needs of the system.
Gideon Halevi
Chapter 5. Analysis and Restoration
The first four chapters of this book described the expectations and disappointments of four incredible industrial innovations. Despite their monumental potential, they all took a conceptual turn somewhere along the line of their development which caused them to fail to achieve the solutions which they sought, and thus each of these incredible industrial innovations faded away. This section attempts to clarify what went wrong and how the originality and contribution of those innovations might be rectified and restored. Group Technology could be revived by a CAD system able to “see” and compare items, thus solving the problem of classifications. Process planning could stop running after the “routine” that blocked several systems of progress systems, replacing it with a ROADMAP. Numerical control could be rectified through the cessation of the practice of developing modules simply because they can be developed, shifting focus to developing what the other modules need instead. Manufacturing itself can be revitalized by using a roadmap, instead of routing, to realize a vision of flexibility and the option to meet due dates and minimize cost, lead time and idle resources.
Gideon Halevi
Expectations and Disappointments of Industrial Innovations
Gideon Halevi
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