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Automation and Labour

It is a matter of common knowledge nowadays that the principal direction of the present-day scientific and technological progress consists in the revolution of mechanized forms of work through the automation of production.

Quite recently, only some decades ago, even the words "automation", "automatic control" seldom appeared on the pages of the press or scientific publications. In the early forties the position radically changed. Soon automatic control was recognized throughout the world to be a new, progressive, independent branch of science and engineering. Today one cannot imagine technical progress without automation.

Automation may be defined as "the accomplishment of a job by an integrated mechanism with a minimum assistance of any kind". In fact, automation is the integration of four independent compounds which have been linked together into a single process. These integral parts of automation are: transfer machining, automatic assembly, communication engineering and control engineering.

Emphasis should be made that automation is not a mere extension of mechanization, but a qualitatively new step in technological development. It brought about radical changes in the technological nature of the relationship between man and machine. In mechanization the function of the direct effect on the object of labour was transferred to the working mechanism. Here, man remained the principal agent of the technological process. He retained the functions of control, regulation, maintaining machines and direct intervention in production process. With the advent of automation these functions were transferred to the mechanical device. The automation of production enables man to operate machines with the help of other machines. Now machines discharge not only production but also intellectual, and in some cases even physiological functions.

Our country has many thousands of comprehensively mechanized and automated enterprises and workshops. The mechanized and automated production lines replace or lighten the work of a tremendous number of workers. All the hydro-power plants in the country have been completely automated. Annually hundreds of automated control systems go into operation at industrial, agricultural, communication, trade and transport enterprises and organizations.

Modern means of automation make it possible to link up in a single complex the whole technological chain: machine designing, equipment and rigging, control of a technological process, control of the whole enterprise. This has been made possible due to the extensive development and mass production of new types of computer technology, from large computers to microprocessors.

Needless to say, comprehensive automation calls for material inputs and time. But the economic effect from the release of "living labour", the intensification of production, the higher quality of output and more flexible technology make up for the inputs, while, on the social plane, it gives opportunities for creative work by both the makers of this technology and its users.

Thus, now the main trend in automation is developing not merely automatic machines but entire technological processes and systems whose functioning excludes the direct involvement of men.

Such automated systems, called flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) are regarded by many experts as being thebest way to meet the demands of industry. They consider the FMS to be the future of the automated factory, or at least the minimally manned factory.

The application of FMS requires advanced technical know-how.

Vocabulary Notes

a matter of common knowledge['nOlIG] — загальновідома справа;

to consist in — полягати (в чому-небудь)

in the early['WlI] forties — на початку сорокових (років);

emphasis['emfqsIs]should be made — необхідно наголосити (підкреслити);

integral['IntIgrql]part of automation["Ltq'meISqn] — невід'ємна частина автоматизації;

with the advent['xdvent]of automation — з появою автоматизації;

(machines) discharge[dIs'CRG]functions — (машини) виконують функції;

comprehensively mechanized["kOmprI'hensIvlI 'mekqnaIzd] and automated (enterprise) — повністю механізоване та автоматизоване (підприємство);

to go into operation — починати діяти (працювати);

needless to say... — зайве казати, не кажучи;

material input — матеріальний внесок (витрати);

flexiblе technology['fleksqbl tek'nOlqGI] — гнучка технологія;

to make up (for) — компенсувати, надолужувати (упущене);

release[rI'lJs]of "living labour"['leIbq] — вивільнення робочої сили;

flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) — гнучкі автоматизовані системи

advanced technical know-how ['nqVhaV]— високий технічний досвід.


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