Implications of CADCAM for training in the engineering industry
Results of a study carried out during 1981 and 1982 in the British engineering industry are presented. The paper is concerned mainly with the implications of CAD interactive graphics for training but CADCAM is also considered. Turnkey CAD interactive graphics systems started to diffuse rapidly in Britain in the late 1970s. The use made of CAD installations moved through three fairly distinct stages: installation and experimentation; use for production drawings, but inefficiently; efficient use on production drawings, involving operator productivity improvements of the order of 3:1 or more typically compared with manual operation. The time taken to move between these stages was extremely variable and was increased in some organizations for reasons such as: management failure to reorganize design; industrial relations problems; and supplier failure to deliver necessary software. The rate of operator learning was also highly variable, depending not only on operator aptitude and training, but also on management effectiveness in creating the right conditions. Increasing numbers of managers and design engineers will need to evaluate and plan CAD installations and there is an urgent need for training programmes to help them in this task. CAD has important implications for draftsman employment, training and skills — emphasizing the need for engineering rather than drawing skills. For the British engineering industry to prosper in the future, it will need to increase its expenditure on innovation, including design. It is essential to ensure that training programmes related to CADCAM are developed in the context of an appreciation of industry’s overall skill needs.
KeywordsEngineering Industry Interactive Graphic Managerial Inefficiency Supply Failure Investment Appraisal
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