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Completing an automation laboratory.

Completing an automation laboratory

A modest machine shop at the National Bureau of Standards(NBS) in Gaithersburg, Md., now offers a glimpse of the factory of the future. Under construction since 1983 (SN: 11/26/83, p.341) and completed last month, the Automated Manufacturing Research Facility has six work stations at which various combinations of robots and metalworking tools, supervised by inspection machinery, cut and shape metal. A sophisticated, automated control system involving dozens of different computers links the work stations. The system permits the machinery to fashion a variety of parts on command from a control room without requiring reprogramming of the robots or machines on the shop floor.

The facility is designed as a research laboratory for studyingand testing methods of linking computer-controlled machines. Results from this research have already helped establish standards that allow equipment made by different manufacturers to pass information from one machine to another more easily. Research at the facility also provides efficient and reliable methods for monitoring the performance of automated machinery. The U.S. Navy is now working with NBS to develop an automated shipyard unit for producing submarine parts.
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Title Annotation:Automated Manufacturing Research Facility
Publication:Science News
Date:Jan 10, 1987
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