Itt Automotive

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The automation of the manufacturing process for MK20 at ITT created a debate that can be summarized in the following sentence: to what level automation is good in different plants. The cost/flexibility tradeoff is always present when discussing automation. Basically, the implication of automation for cost can be viewed from different perspectives. Automation is utilizing control systems and information technology to reduce human work during production especially for tasks that require physical interventions which will lead to improve the process performance. This will result in reducing production manufacturing time and increase volume. Automation can improve product quality and simplify QA activities. The increase in quality level will decrease defected products and as a result reduce rework or dismiss of products; that will then reduce or better lead to avoid unnecessary extra cost. The automation will require more skilled operators to run the processes and the control devices. These skills are more costly to acquire than normal technicians. That’s why ITT decided to keep assembly processes that required high level of skill in high wage countries like Germany. The cost considerations will have impact on the employment. Once processes are automated, there will be no need to retain many employees who used to perform tasks that were previously manual. Despite the fact that automation is reducing the cost; yet it is to some extent on the account of flexibility. The process will be defined and programmed in the control system where it will be difficult to adjust or change in the process if the situation required change. Any change will need to be done manually. Moreover, having the process controlled by the control system; it might lack certain level of intelligence or error correction. It might also lead to eliminate the capability of define the source of problems in case of quality issues. Another important issue with the automation, customers tends to be...
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