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Work of the social effects of automation committee from bad boll to enschede

01 Jan 1977-IFAC Proceedings Volumes (Elsevier)-Vol. 10, Iss: 13, pp 19-22

AbstractThe paper summarises the activities of the IFAC Committee on Social Effects of Automation during the period 1974-1977. - A Workshop was held about “Productivity and Man” at Bad Boll (FRG) in January 1974; - A number of Newsletters were published - Factory visits were made to a Steel Rolling Mill, an Automobile Plant, an Electro-Mechanical and an Electronic Assembly plant - Contributions were made to the IFAC Congress at Boston (August 1975), and will be offered to the Congress at Helsinki (June 1978) - Preparations are being made for a Workshop on Case Studies in Automation, related to Humanization of Work, to be held at Enschede Netherlands in November 1977.

Summary (1 min read)

Introduction

  • The first major event sponsored by the committee was the Workshop in Bad Boll (F.R.G.) in January 1974.
  • The Concluding Statement of the Workshop reads as follows: *Urwick Technology Management, London, England.
  • The case studies submitted reveal that in many cases too little consideration was given to human factors of work in the design of the automation systems.
  • The workshop participants believe that, too frequently, the control engineer is brought into the design planning process too late to make an optimum contribution; further, that there has been insufficient dialogue and co-operation between control engineers and social scientists due primarily to their respective ignorance of each other's discipline and education.

1. In designing automation systems, the Control Engineer should consult with and encourage the active participation of all people who are or will be involved in the system.

  • In designing automation systems, the Control Engineer should not restrict the amount of inJormation about the system; on the contrary, he should provide all people involved in the system with as much inJormation as possible.
  • In designing automation systems, the Control Engineer should consult and co-operate with suitably qualified social scientists and trade union representatives in order to produce more effective systems from a human standpoint.
  • An important objective of the system should be greater humanization and opportunity [br human se![:.actualization and growth.
  • Congress at Boston, U.S.A. and it was agreed to arrange another Workshop.
  • At this time the Chairmanship of their Committee passed from Phil Sprague to Fred Margulies.

IFAC congress

  • The International Programme Committee of the IFAC Congress 1975, which was held at Boston (U.S.A.), agreed to include a specially commissioned paper among its list of plenary sessions.
  • In addition, two special interest sessions were organised comprising twelve papers which stimulated great interest and lively discussion.
  • For the coming IFAC Congress, which will be held in Helsinki, June 1978, the following survey papers have been proposed: Technological change, productivity and employment, by Mr. Cooley and J. Withers; Co-operation between control engineers, social scientists and users in automation system design, by Aune, M. Cooley and J. Rijnsdorp.
  • Further, round table discussions will be held about these two subjects, and a third one will be devoted to Man-Machine Interfaces for Process Control in cooperation with Technical Committee 6 of "Purdue Europe".

Workshops at Enschede (Netherlands)

  • This paper is intended for presentation and discussion at the Workshop about Case Studies in Automation, related to Humanizat ion of work, to be held at Enschede from 31st October to 4th November, 1977.
  • A provisional programme was agreed to give three working sessions or case studies, with two sessions devoted to a summary and recommendations, and hopefully a technical visit to Philips.

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Automatica, Vol. 14, pp. 189-191. Pergamon Press, 1978. Printed in Great Britain
Work of the Social Effects of Automation Committee from
Enschede
IFAC Report
Bad Boll to
R. M. J. WITHERS* and J. E. RIJNSDORP'?
Key Word Index Social and behavioural science; man-machine systems; robots; manufacturing processes;
job design; group technology.
Summary--The paper summarises the activities of the IFAC
Committee on Social Effects of Automation during the period
1974-1977. A Workshop was held about "Productivity and Man'
at Bad Boll (F.R.G.) in January 1974. A number of Newsletters
were published. Factory visits were made to a Steel Rolling Mill,
an Automobile Plant, an Electro-Mechanical and an Electronic
Assembly plant. Contributions were made to the IFAC Congress
at Boston (August 1975), and will be offered to the Congress at
Helsinki (June 1978). Preparations are being made for a
Workshop on Case Studies in Automation, related to
Humanization of Work, to be held at Enschede Netherlands in
November 1977.
Introduction
THE International Federation of Automatic Control was founded
during an International Conference at Heidelberg (1956). It is
supported by National Member Organizations from all
continents.
Every three years a general congress held, where all fields and
aspects of control are included. The interpretation of the term
'control' has gradually become broader; it now encompasses the
interactions with planning, operations research, world dynamics,
the environment, economics, computer science, and human
factors.
IFAC also has a number of technical committees, which are
responsible for planning and coordinating activities in certain
fields, such as control theory, education, applications, manufac-
turing technology, systems engineering, management science. In
1971 a Committee was formed to deal with Social Effects of
Automation. The decision was made to direct the attention
primarily on a specific area: the interactions between autorriation
techniques and conditions in industry.
More specifically the aims were to make all control engineers
aware of social effects of their work, to involve a smaller group of
interested people in a more thorough analysis of social effects,
and to provide information about new developments.
Workshop about "Productivity and Man"
The first major event sponsored by the committee was the
Workshop in Bad Boll (F.R.G.) in January 1974. The proposal
for such a Workshop was made at the Paris conference of IFAC
in June 1972, during a round table discussion.
The workshop has been fully described by Peter Schuh and
Phil Sprague in an official publication 'Productivity and Man'. It
had the following main characteristics:
provision of ideal facilities in the Evangelische Acadamie at
Bad Boll
attendance by forty-three men and women from twelve
countries
representatives from trades unions, behavioural science,
engineering and management
presentation and discussion of nineteen pre-printed case
studies in four sequential work sessions
an introductory session to set the main topics and a closing
session to produce a concluding statement
publication of the Workshop proceedings.
The Concluding Statement of the Workshop reads as follows:
*Urwick Technology Management, London, England.
"t'Twente University, Enschede, The Netherlands
"Based on la) the case studies submitted from thirteen countries
documenting the application of automation and technology to a
variety of industrial and institutional problems and (b) the three
days of discussions by our group of more than forty participants
representing a wide range of educational and professional
disciplines, we make the following observations
189
1. The case studies submitted indicate that great gains in
productivity have been achieved through the application of
automation to human activities; these gains have not only been
realized in terms of greater output, increased wages and
improved product quality but also in extended leisure time,
improved health and better living conditions.
2. The case studies submitted reveal that in many cases too
little consideration was given to human factors of work in the
design of the automation systems.
3. The Workshop participants concluded that the human
shortcomings mentioned in point 2 above were a result of (a)
insufficient recognition of the opportunities inherent in new
technology to overcome these ill effects and (b) inadequate
recognition of the increased awareness of people regarding the
dehumanization of work which can result from the application of
automation.
4. The Workshop participants believe that man/machine
relationships can and should be optimized and that, therein, lies
the greatest opportunity and challenge for the control engineer.
5. The workshop participants believe that, too frequently, the
control engineer is brought into the design planning process too
late to make an optimum contribution; further, that there has
been insufficient dialogue and co-operation between control
engineers and social scientists due primarily to their respective
ignorance of each other's discipline and education.
Recognizing our primary responsibility to the International
Federation of Automatic Control and the control engineers and
scientists throughout the world which make up its membership,
we make the following Recommendations to Control Engineers:
1. In designing automation systems, the Control Engineer should
consult with and encourage the active participation of all people
who are or will be involved in the system.
2. In designing automation systems, the Control Engineer should
not restrict the amount of inJormation about the system; on the
contrary, he should provide all people involved in the system with
as much inJormation as possible.
3. In designing automation systems, the Control Engineer should
consult and co-operate with suitably qualified social scientists and
trade union representatives in order to produce more effective
systems from a human standpoint.
4. In designing automation systems, the Control Engineer should
be encouraged to take advantage of the unique capabilities of man,
to enrich man's role in the system. An important objective of the
system should be greater humanization and opportunity [br human
se![:.actualization and growth.
5. The Control Engineer should give serious consideration to re-
orienting or reshaping his profession and its educational base to
include exposure to economic, social and psychological factors;
Jailure to incorporate such aspects in his thinking and activity will
severely limit the e~]ectiveness ~?! his designs"

190 IFAC Report
At a subsequent committee it was agreed to I\~llow up the
Workshop by in-depth investigations by the Committee at a
number of factory locations. It was also agreed to propagate the
work of the Committee by means of a Newsletter. It was further
decided to make preparations for the August 1975 lEA(?
Congress at Boston, U.S.A. and it was agreed to arrange another
Workshop. At this time the Chairmanship of our Committee
passed from Phil Sprague to Fred Margulies.
Newsletteri~
As this report is being written, the Committee's third
newsletter is due and plans exist for editing the fourth and fifth
newsletters.
The procedure is that responsibility for each newsletter rests
with a named individual, as follows:
No. 1 H. Rosenbrock
No. 2 J. Dockstader
No. 3 A.B. Aune
No. 4 P. Schuh
No. 5 S. Aida
The master copies are sent to a n u mber of co H ,~ t, t tee mere bets
for duplication and distribution on an area bas~- [)istribution is
undertaken by the following:
N. & S. America J. Docksladcr
U.K. & TC 9 H. Rosenbr~ck
West Germany P. Schuh
France & Switzerland F. Muller
Austria E. Marquilics
Scandinavia A.B. Aune
Socialist Countries N.S. Rajbman
The committee's Newsletters aim to provide:
preview of forthcoming events
reports on conferences, workshops, meetings etc.
reviews of books and papers
outstanding papers in full
reports on research
suggestions for committee work
The first Newsletter was issued in March 1976 and the second
in November 1976. The third Newsletter is due in April 1977. It is
primarily aimed at meeting the needs of committee members and
their friends and an initial circulation of around 100 copies was
envisaged. In practice many more copies than this have been
circulated.
Reciprocal arrangements regarding the circulation of New
Newsletters have been made with Council on Quality of Working
Life through the Chairman, Professor A. T. M. Wilson.
Similar arrangements for exchange of Newsletters have been
made with the 1FIP committee TC 9 devoted to the study of
relationships between computer technology and society.
1"actory risits
At the Bad Boll Workshop, proceedings MI under three main
headings:
process industries
manufacturing industries
office work
The initial factory visit was particularly relevant to the first of
these. The "Hoogovens' plant at ljmuiden in the Netherlands is
one of the most up-to-date steel works in Europe with a high level
of automation throughout. It has two hot strip mills, one of which
is equipped with a comprehensive computer control system. At
the time of the Committee's visit lFebruary 1976) the system had
been m operation for some years and there had just been
concluded an eighteen month study into Human Factors by a co-
operative team from Hoogovens staff, the University of Delft, and
the British Steel Corporation. The study had been financed with
assistance by the European Coal and Steel Community. The
meeting was attended by fourteen committee members who spent
two days visiting and discussing the plant together with senior
staff from Hoogovens and the co-operative study team.
Participants expressed their appreciation of the character of
the meetmg and it was agreed to repeat the structure in fnture.
1-uil reports ol the meeting appeared in Newsletter No. 1. A
main impression for the meeting was the considerable attempt
being made to bring together working experiences of operators.
behavioural scientists, engmeers and managers in an attempt to
make improvements for the future. Another was the organisation
which exhibits a very high standard of plant technology and
which attempts to inw)lve its work force in an open exchange of
information. Thirdly. it was interesting to see the attempt of
maintaining good ',isual and physical proximity to the process,
with the control room used as a meeting place and management
centre.
It had been hoped to compare conditions in the highl3~
automated hot strip mill No. 2 with those in the less advanced
mill No. 1. This pro~ed impracticable for a number of reasons.
Whilst there was a cost benefit to Hoogoven in terms of impro,,ed
heat economy anti production quality there were no labour
~axings; in fact twelve relatively unskilled people were replaced
by a need for an equivalent number given with higher lexels of
skill and operator training in a lengthy process.
Our second factory visit was the Olivetli's main works at lvrea
in Northern Italy. Olivetti face particularly challenging problems
because of the change in their technology base from electro-
mechanical 'fein werk technik" to electronics.
At lhe time of this visit the committee comprised forty-tvct~
members from seventeen countries and thirteen members were in
attendance from ten countries. Two days were spent on the '~isit
to Olivetti and two further half-days ,,,,'ere spent discussing
committee business.
Olivetti haxe made significant progress in two directhms in
response to the difficulties human beings face when coupled to
mechanical flow lines and asked to work repetitively on short
cycle times. Firstly they ha~e been introducing production
systems based on group technology since 1963. In 1976. 2,000
people were so organised at lvrea. Secondly, since 1972 they have
been introducing robots: in 1976 they had twenty at work.
equivalent in speed to some sixty men, and able to work more or
Icss continuously.
There were intensive discussions during out" visit botll about
Group Technology and about Robots. There is a full report on
our visit in Newsletter No. 3. Among many impressions of our
visit was the big investments being made by Olivetti both in its
people by means of training schemes and in its technology. The
effects on the structure of work and upon the management
structure were considerable with much evidence of matrix and
project management systems.
l isit to Daimler-Be~-, Sinde!lingen Ik.R.G.)
In May 1977. a ~isit was paid to the Daimler-Benz plant at
Sinde![ingen, where Mercedes cars are being ussembh,d. .4bou~
10 committee members particpated.
The daily production is about 1500 cars. of which are sold to
employees for a reduced pricc. The total working Iorce is 34,000,
including 10,000 guest-labourers.
.lob enlargement has been introduced m order to improve the
cycle time in some monotonous jobs; for instance a worker will
take every fourth car and spent 4 × 2 minutes on it. Still there are
several people strongly tied to the pace of the machine, amongst
others in the pressing of body parts and in the painting shops. The
creation of more favourable working conditions tends to enlargc
intermediate buffers and to decrease productivity.
Many robots are being used, mainly for spot welding and
painting. However, locations which are difficult to reach remain
to be done by human beings.
l isit to Hewlett-Packard, Boblingen (F.R.G.)
Also in May 1977, a visit was paid to the Hewlett-Packard
plant at Boblingen. Of the total working force of 1100, 380 are
employed in production. Small series of a great variety of
electronic instruments are being manufactured.
The interior of the buildings has been arranged in open style,
where even the department head's desk can be seen by everybody.
The organisation is based on the principle of'management by
objectives'. Every year objectives are formulated by the
Supervisor under negotiation with the person concerned. The
latter works independently, with a semi-annual inspection by the
super,Asor. On the lowest level however, there are difficulties in

IFAC Report 191
defining
feasible objectives. Special attention should be paid to
the training of foremen in applying the principle on their level.
Job enlargement has been realised in the assembly of printed
circuits boards. The testing of these boards will be done by
computer, which enables job upgrading for quality inspectors to
programming, or to customer servicing.
General impressions Jrom the Jactory visits
There is a variety of reasons for starting projects on
humanisation of work, such as: High absenteeism and turn-over,
higher levels of education of young employees, changes in
technology accompanied by changes in jobs, pressures from trade
unions, new legislation, and/or initiatives by management. In any
case, such projects only have a chance of success if they are
supported by management.
An important condition imposed upon management, parti-
cularly under the present economic conditions, is to keep
production efficiency at least on the same level. Additional costs
of humanisation of work must therefore be compensated by some
form of productivity improvement. Giving more individual
responsibility for product quality, or better information to the
operators about process performance can help secure this end.
Great attention should be paid to training, not only of the
workers concerned, but also of their supervisors. In advanced
automation projects, the operators should understand the
decisions taken by the computer.
Modern computer and communication technology can enable
the worker to take actions which traditionally are the realm of the
supervisory level. This, inevitably, must lead to changes in the
organisation structure.
The present generation of industrial robots have several
limitations, hence a certain number of monotonous tasks still
have to be allocated to human beings.
IFAC congress
The International Programme Committee of the IFAC
Congress 1975, which was held at Boston (U.S.A.), agreed to
include a specially commissioned paper among its list of plenary
sessions. In fact a poll put the Social Effects of Automation fourth
on a list of sixteen titles for choice.
This paper was a joint effort by K. Bibby, F. Margulies, J.
Rijnsdorp and J. Withers, and presented by J. Rijnsdorp. In
addition, two special interest sessions were organised comprising
twelve papers which stimulated great interest and lively
discussion. A well-attended round table meeting under the
chairmanship of Dr. Ellis-Scott provided further suggestions
concerning the future activities of the committee.
For the coming IFAC Congress, which will be held in Helsinki,
June 1978, the following survey papers have been proposed:
Technological change, productivity and employment, by Mr.
Cooley and J. Withers;
Co-operation between control engineers, social scientists and
users in automation system design, by Aune, M. Cooley and J.
Rijnsdorp.
Further, round table discussions will be held about these two
subjects, and a third one will be devoted to Man-Machine
Interfaces for Process Control in cooperation with Technical
Committee 6 of "Purdue Europe".
Finally, two technical sessions are envisaged about Social
Effects of Automation in the Printing Industry, to be organised
by Kawmius and Withers; and about Automation in Offices, to
be organised by Bjorn-Andersen.
Workshops at Enschede
(Netherlands)
This paper is intended for presentation and discussion at the
Workshop about Case Studies in Automation, related to
Humanization of work, to be held at Enschede (Netherlands)
from 31st October to 4th November, 1977.
A provisional programme was agreed to give three working
sessions or case studies, with two sessions devoted to a summary
and recommendations, and hopefully a technical visit to Philips.
The workshop is being organised by a local committee led by
Professor J. Rijnsdorp.
FlHtAre work
The committee meets very infrequently and its membership is
spread across many countries and is composed of individuals
with heavy commitments.
It has therefore been necessary to concentrate on a relatively
narrow fl'ont but with a strong theme in order to achieve success.
From the foregoing it will be appreciated that the Committee's
past activities have focussed particularly on the problems of
humanising work in manufacturing situations with special
reference to automation. It is felt that this concentration has
yielded good results.
Our factory visits, newsletters, workshop programme, and
congress contributions have all yielded favourable comment and
enabled many to benefit for the sharing of working experience.
Whilst however the committee feels that the selection of the
manufacturing sector is justified by the wealth it so necessarily
creates for society to spend, it has to acknowledge that there is an
increasing employment opportunity in the service sector and that
other aspects and activities such as medical aid, transport and
communications all deserve study. The possible scope of the
Committee's activities is therefore very wide and it is planned to
hold discussions at Twente to see what more might be fruitfully
explored in the future.
Citations
More filters

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Current status and forecasts are given for the IFAC subject area “Social Impact of Automation” and it is anticipated that the human and social aspects of automation will become in the future definitely more important than in the past.
Abstract: Current status and forecasts are given for the IFAC subject area “Social Impact of Automation”. Three broadly used approaches for dealing with these issues are identified: the traditional techno-centric, the human-centred and the socio-technical approach. From future trends in control and information technology, in society and in future impact of automation on environment, the main needs and challenges, as well as likely new applications for this area of discussion are derived. It is anticipated that the human and social aspects of automation will become in the future definitely more important than in the past. Copyright © 2002 IFAC

7 citations


Cites background from "Work of the social effects of autom..."

  • ...As stated by Withers and Rijnsdorp (1978), the initial aims were: • to make all control engineers aware of social effects of their work, • to involve a smaller group of interested people in a more thorough analysis of social effects and • to provide information about new developments....

    [...]


References
More filters

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: Current status and forecasts are given for the IFAC subject area “Social Impact of Automation” and it is anticipated that the human and social aspects of automation will become in the future definitely more important than in the past.
Abstract: Current status and forecasts are given for the IFAC subject area “Social Impact of Automation”. Three broadly used approaches for dealing with these issues are identified: the traditional techno-centric, the human-centred and the socio-technical approach. From future trends in control and information technology, in society and in future impact of automation on environment, the main needs and challenges, as well as likely new applications for this area of discussion are derived. It is anticipated that the human and social aspects of automation will become in the future definitely more important than in the past. Copyright © 2002 IFAC

7 citations