5. Computers In The Factory

5.1 Computer Hardware and Software

• Considering CAD and CAM both start with C’s, computers are a dominant factor

5.1.1 Hardware

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• Hardware is much more advanced than software, and it is often less expensive.

• There are four major functions which must be addressed when dealing with the application of a computer system.

Input

Output

Processing

Storage

• An Example: If you are implementing a system on a shop floor with inexperienced typists, input devices should be simple, like a mouse, or rugged like a touch screen. If the computer is controlling a large machine, an emergency stop button is required. Disk drives may have problems if there is vibration, or static. ETC.

5.1.2 Software

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• Software is expected to perform many tasks with more speed, and accuracy than a person. Software will not perform a task better, Hence the term ‘Garbage in Garbage Out’

• The software has similar functions to the hardware,

Input

Output

Processing

Storage

• An example is software to be written to run on a Nintendo Game System. If this is the case, the software must use the game paddles for input, there is some memory storage (the game programs are stored in ROM chips in the cassettes), Output is visual and audio. Processing could include trajectory calculations, collision detection and scenery drawing.

• Software is clearly distinguished from hardware by the lack of commitment when it is purchased. Software undergoes updates, it may be adapted to suit new demands, etc., hardware is often fixed.

• Computer software and hardware have both decreased in cost, keep in mind that the cost of software and hardware are often both in the same cost range. (originally hardware was more expensive (1940s-1970s) then software went through an expensive phase (1970s-1990s), but the enlargement of commercial markets has brought economies of scale to both products.

• A Good Computer Rule to Remember

“If a problem cannot be solved by a human on paper (ignoring the time factor), then it cannot be done by computer. The computer requires that a task is well defined, and understood”

 

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