June 1955. The age of automation

The conference on ‘The Automatic Factory – What Does it Mean?’ which was organised by the Institution of Production Engineers and held at Margate last week was attended by more than 850 delegates.

Conference on the Automatic Factory

The conference on ‘The Automatic Factory – What Does it Mean?’ which was organised by the Institution of Production Engineers and held at Margate last week was attended by more than 850 delegates.

In the course of this conference automation, as it is now generally known, was discussed from all angles, including existing applications, equipment for automatic process control now available, the effects the general adoption of automatic control of plant and equipment will have on industries and labour relations, and the challenge the automatic factory presents to technical education.

For his address to the first plenary session of the conference Sir Walter Puckey took for his subject ‘The Automatic Factory – Dream or Nightmare?’…

…Automation was then, Sir Walter said, a logical successor to other tools placed at our disposal such as tungsten carbide, fine measuring equipment, TWI, work study and material handling equipment.

Why, therefore, were we excited an possibly fearful about automation? Sir Walter believed the main reason was that, while we may accept the idea that a machine may take over our brawn, it was quite another thing to agree that it should take over our brains.

1955 The Automatic Factory