Report: Slave and Expert Systems

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  The 19th Century: Machine-Assisted Manufacturing

Eli Whitney's proposal for a simplification and standardization of component parts marked a further milestone in the advance of the automation of work processes. In 1797 he suggested the manufacture of muskets with completely interchangeable parts. As opposed to the older method under which each gun was the individual product of a highly skilled gunsmith and each part hand-fitted, his method permitted large production runs of parts that were readily fitted to other parts without adjustment and could relatively easy be performed by machines.

By the middle of the 19th century the general concepts of division of labor, assembly of standardized parts and machine-assisted manufacture were well established. On both sides of the Atlantic large factories were in operation, which used specialized machines to improve costs, quality and quantity of their products.

browse Report:
Slave and Expert Systems
    Introduction: The Substitution of Human Faculties with Technology: Early Tools
-3   Early Tools and Machines
-2   The 17th Century: The Invention of the First "Computers"
-1   The 18th Century: Powered Machines and the Industrial Revolution
0   The 19th Century: Machine-Assisted Manufacturing
+1   The 19th Century: First Programmable Computing Devices
+2   1913: Henry Ford and the Assembly Line
+3   1940s - Early 1950s: First Generation Computers
1980s: Artificial Intelligence (AI) - From Lab to Life
Assembly line
An assembly line is an industrial arrangement of machines, equipment, and workers for continuous flow of workpieces in mass production operations. An assembly line is designed by determining the sequences of operations for manufacture of each product component as well as the final product. Each movement of material is made as simple and short as possible with no cross flow or backtracking. Work assignments, numbers of machines, and production rates are programmed so that all operations performed along the line are compatible.