What role for humans in computer integrated manufacturing?
It is frequently argued that since humans are error prone, it is necessary to limit their influence in manufacturing by using computer integrated manufacturing CIM technology to automate physical cognitive tasks. However, many researchers advocate that workers are essential to manufacturing and CIM technology should be used to assist workers in making the best product possible for the marketplace. This paper first explores the possibility of achieving workerless manufacturing, a situation that would exist in a completely automated manufacturing system. The discussion leads to the conclusion that humans will remain an integral part of current manufacturing due to technical, economic, and cybernetics reasons. Next, the outline of a procedure for systematically allocating functions to humans and machines in a purely manufacturing context conversion of raw materials to finished products is presented. Finally, the need for human involvement in some other aspects of CIM, such as communication, is discussed.
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