Four ways to submit your assignments:

1. A hard copy of your answers, typed

2. A diskette copy using MicroSoft Word

3. An electronic copy sent to DSIANITA@UKCC.UKY.EDU or DSIANITA@POP.UKY.EDU

4. A fax copy sent to 606-257-8031

It is each studentís responsibility to ensure a functional copy has been submitted before the conclusion of class on the due day (i.e., I am not responsible for unacknowledged faxes or defective disks).

Assignment 1

Due: September 14, 2000

The performance of U.S. manufacturing as presented by V.D. Hunt in Computer Integrated Manufacturing Handbook, Chapman and Hall, 1989, was not very encouraging.However, Huntís analysis was based on data that were nearly 10 years old.Reassess the U.S. performance in manufacturing by using more recent statistical data.Also, compare the changes in performance, if any, and speculate the contributing factors to these changes

Assignment 2

Due: September 28, 2000

Answer the following questions based on the following case study:

The new manufacturing center of Allen-Bradley, a worldwide manufacturer of industrial automation and control systems, is created at a cost of more than $9.5 million over a 3-year period from 1989-1992. The center has the flexible manufacturing capability to design and build circuit boards. With as many as six different boards being produced at any one time on a continuous flow assembly line, the manufacturing is accomplished through computerized control, bar code identification and a conveyor system integrated with 16 test, assembly or process machines. The center is able to integrate new product production capability using CAD data to achieve new printed circuit board implementation in just one day.

The flow of information to and from the center is facilitated by computer integration Ė design information is received in the form of an engineering transfer file, loaded on the centerís computers and then brought into the database for efficient access. The design information is then automatically evaluated for correct component-to-process assignment and a report is issued as to which process each component will be assigned. This information enables the designer to check the appropriateness of the process assignment and the cost-effectiveness of the design. At the same time this process assignment is conveyed to personnel who create numerical control programs and related documentation for assembly. The assignment is then sent to the MRP system for production scheduling. Such real-time processing enables the database, NC program and related documentation to be prepared in less than five minutes per process; the manual generation method took anywhere from one to three days per process and was subject to user error.

Further, automatic identification helps keep track of more than 1,500 components currently required for board assembly. At each station, bar code readers scan each laser marked panel and then transmit the panelís identification to the centerís database. The database then downloads instructions to the machine controls.

The benefits of using the latest in technology in this facility are immediately evident: the electronic motor starters, small programmable controllers and machine vision systems are being designed, manufactured and shipped to customers in as little as five months Ė an 85% decrease in a process that had previously taken as long as three years.

1. List the information technologies adopted in the above system.

2. Identify the benefits attributable to the above system.

3. Explain briefly whether you consider the above system is an example of CIM or not.

4. Describe any other advanced technologies that can be employed to improve the above system.

Assignment 3

Due:  November 16, 2000

Choose an article on advanced manufacturing technology from a newspaper, magazine, or professional journal.  Summarize briefly what the technology is about and comment on its importance to manufacturing.

Assignment 4

Due: November 30, 2000

Answer the following questions based on the following case study:

During the early 1980s, manufacturing technology changed radically due to factory automation. Robots made their manufacturing debut, and many, including General Electric, believed that factory automation was the production industry of the future. Founded by Thomas Edison and heralded as a cornerstone of American industry, GE was so confident that factory automation would be a "megamarket" that in 1980 it established the $500-million factory automation division. The company hoped to have 20% of the factory automation market by 1990.

General Electric's vision included automated systems to augment productivity and quality. Since automation requires many high-tech devices, such as controllers to turn on and program machines, cameras and sensors to regulate work, computers and software for applications, and communication networks to connect the technology, GE would establish itself as "America's factory-of-the-future supermarket." Because it did not produce all the necessary products, GE pursued acquisitions and licensing agreements. The first purchase, for $150 million, was a produced of computer-aided design (CAD) equipment, followed by licensing agreements with a total of 11 Japanese, German, and Italian robotics companies. What resulted, however, was a catastrophe, because the separate units did not work well together.

GE had conservatively forecast that sales would reach $1 billion. However, by the end of 1982 customer interest in GE's factory-of-the-future was waning and the company had landed only nine projects, almost half of them within GE. Although it had hoped for 20% of this market, GE was forced to all but halt its robotics division in 1983. The products required extensive customizing to prevent the improperly designed system from paralyzing production. Also, robots were difficult and laborious to install. These and other obstacles resulted in low sales figures industrywide and about $10 million per year in losses at GE. Additionally, GE lost its position as the largest seller of numerical controls in the U.S. This business unit produced highly specialized computers that assist and guide large machine tools in cutting, drilling, and shaping parts. Annual sales of numerical controls declined from $86 million to $60 million, with losses equaling about $10 million. The CAD equipment division was also in disarray due to key personnel losses in the areas of sales and engineering. Further, the company neglected to focus the business on its primary product lines, resulting in inaccurate planning and development of new products. By 1984, the division was suffering losses of roughly $40 million per year.

1.  What was GEís factory-of-the-future vision?
2.  What went wrong in GEís pursuit of its vision?
3.  What lessons are learned from GEís experience?
4.  What would you do differently if you were GE?