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Detroit Automation

Anderson Ashburn
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 340, Automation (Mar., 1962), pp. 21-28
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1033695
Page Count: 8
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Detroit Automation
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Abstract

Automation as a word was first used to describe the linking together of machine tools into a continuous production line by mechanical devices to load, unload, and transfer between machines or between stations in a single machine. As the meaning of automation has broadened, this original application has increasingly been described as "Detroit automation." Many examples are found in the automative industry, but the technique has been successful in manufacturing appliances, motors, radio and television sets, and many other items produced in large volume. Some major problems have arisen that limit the economic size of a single automatic sequence of operations. Growth rate is limited by the balance between the degree of flexibility possible and the production volume that will probably be required. The rate at which automation is added in the metalworking industries has tapered off in the last few years but seems to be rising again, and continued increase, though at a less hectic pace, seems likely. The recent development of numerically controlled machines will do for small-lot producers what the transfer machine is doing for mass producers.

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