As we go through our daily routines, we are surrounded by products that were incredibly difficult and complicated to design and build, and we often don’t even realize it.
While our ancestors cobbled together most things with basic tools and a few raw materials using very simple designs, today’s consumer has a home and a workplace filled with things that took a large team of designers, engineers, and computer specialists to get to the market.
At the heart of the drafting and design processes are industrial PC boards that permit incredibly fast movement of information and processing of user input. Then come the complex assembly components, operated by highly skilled technicians. Finally comes the installation, which can be a very challenging step on its own.
Let’s focus only on the computer boards at this point. How do these computerized brains make it possible to have the products we have today?
There is no such thing as a simple product out there. Everything has a long list of parameters it must meet. There are dimensions, proportions, weights, densities, and other physical properties to satisfy. There must also be consideration of potential chemical reactions, durability of materials, and strength of designs.
One amazing innovation that reflects this complexity is an underground refrigerator for homes. It has to be strong enough to be covered by dirt and spacious enough for a person to walk inside. While it doesn’t use a computer, you can bet they used a lot of them to design it.
Nothing on that list cannot be determined by humans, but it is an incredibly slow process. Industrial PC boards can quickly incorporate all that data with accuracy and completeness–and without trial and error. The result is a design process that goes much faster and costs less, getting products onto the market at a much lower price.
Assembly lines are all about consistency. If each component of a product is not perfectly sized, it will not fit with other components. There are all kinds of problems that emerge from that situation.
Humans work hard at quality control, but they also work slowly. Everything from measurements to colors must be examined using very precise instruments, and a human inspector will take a long time to do that.
Automation takes care of that. Optic sensors can do measurements and color examinations, along with all the other quality control tests, with very high speed and excellent accuracy. This saves worker time during assembly and reduces the number of recalled products and items returned by consumers.
One of the great slowdowns in an industry is retooling. New designs mean an incredibly long process of changing settings, altering measurements, and so forth.
With computer automation, this process is simpler. Not completely worry-free, but simpler. New designs are fed into the assembly computers, and the needed changes are factored in.
Of course, there will be times when tools must be replaced due to their condition or lack of capacity for the new work, but by and large, the upgrade is much faster.
We’ve looked mostly at manufacturing in this article, but technology also advances rapidly for its own sake. New computer components, cell phones, and electronics of all kinds are designed, tested, and repaired much more quickly because of the powerful computers that do the work.