Warner, James C.||Beck, John R.
M.S. (Master of Science)
Department of Industry and Technology
The purpose of this study was to examine the status of numerical control usage in selected job-shops and tool and die shops in Northern Illinois who have more than > twenty-five employees. In order to accomplish this task/ it was necessary to establish the manufacturing processes being used; compare these processes with the commonly available compatible numerical control processes; determine what numerical control processes are being used; examine the factors which inhibit utilization of numerical control manufacturing; and determine to what extent the manufacturers surveyed would contribute to the cost of gaining technical knowledge necessary for full utilization of numerical control manufacturing. The study was also intended to provide industrial management, educators, and other interested agencies with information regarding the status of numerical control and the potential trends of numerical control utilization in Northern Illinois industry. The questionnaire survey method was selected as most appropriate for this*study. A pilot questionnaire was submitted to local job-shops who work with both conventional and numerical control machining techniques for completion and criticism. Validation was made on the basis of this evaluation. The population was selected from the 1967 Illinois Manufacturers' Directory, and based on the directory's description, was limited to all job-shop type manufacturers and tool and die shops located in Northern Illinois. In this study, the term "job-shop" was defined as those firms who contract to manufacture specific numbers of parts, but do not have direct control over the design of those parts. There were 385 firms included in the study which employed 29,661 persons, or an average of 77 employees per firm. Fifty-two per cent of the survey population was located in the city of Chicago, and 90 per cent of all the firms were located in the extreme northeast section of the state. Of the 385 questionnaires mailed, 157 returns were received. One hundred and eleven, or 29 per cent, were considered usable for the study. The data were key punched and processed on the computer facilities at Northern Illinois University. Of the 111 usable returns, 21 firms were found to utilize numerical control manufacturing processes. It was also discovered that there was relatively little difference in the firms included in the study in terms of manufacturing processes used, tolerance ranges with which they operated, tolerance maintenance problems, general attitude towards numerical control, and geographic location. This homogenity can contribute to the efficiency of any technical assistance program. Because the processes used by the study population closely correspond to efficient and reliable numerical control equipment currently available, it appears that numerical control could greatly contribute to the productivity of these firms. The majority of firms did not seem to be interested in utilizing numerical control processes at this time. However, there were sufficient numbers, who indicated an interest, to warrant the start of technical assistance which would serve ^s a demonstration model. The firms surveyed were not willing to contribute to the costs of gaining numerical control technical knowledge. Programs of technical upgrading would initially have to be nearly totally subsidized, or be limited in scope. The study revealed that, apparently, before a technical assistance program of any size can be conducted pertaining to numerical control, a rather extensive effort must be made toward re-education and changing of attitudes. There appears to be a great misunderstanding of numerical control utilization by those firms not employing numerical control in their manufacturing processes. Problems identified, including numerical control not fitting the nature of the operations and cost of the equipment, are categorically fears of the unknown, rather than a realistic appraisal of the forthcoming generation of manufacturing disciplines of industry.
Albrecht, Albert W., "The status of numerical control in northern Illinois industry" (1969). Graduate Research Theses & Dissertations. 6319.
4, xvii, 150 pages
Northern Illinois University
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