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The future plant may well be situated tight in the centre of the residential district. The walls will be of metal and glass; there will be no smoke, soot or dust. In a huge, light and busy plant machines produce a slight humming. No workers moving about among machines, only in a small control room two men are on duty. But in the main the factory runs itself.
The factory is fashioning machine tools from raw steel ingots. Huge rollers set to exact thickness flatten the ingots into sheets. Three-dimensional sensing devices “read” patterns from parts, then, transducers convert this information into electrical energy. Amplifiers build up that energy so that it can run machines to shape, drill, and fasten together the parts. Thousands of different individual machining operations are all done mechanically, and supervised by machines. While amplifiers can sense and correct tiny changes in speed or voltage which could cause errors, photo tubes can convert light into signals which count, sort, check defect and judge quality. All operations man did in the past machines do now automatically.
You may say, this has been done for a long time on assembly lines in many factories and most of the individual steps are familiar. That is true, but the new thing is the size and completeness of the system. Not a single stage or a sequence of operations, but a whole plant is completely automated. These systems are described by the term "a closed loop", where a completely automatic controlling device replaces the operator, and the whole process is carried out without human intervention. The computers keep track of supplies on hand, use of parts, tell how much to produce and check the output. The final information closes the loop of automation, and the kind of control is called feed-back.
But still much research work is to be done to perfect the system. It is essential to improve the quality of automation equipment as well as the programs of the computers. A major problem is to better automate inspection, quality control, information system. For solid parts and automatic three-dimensional recognition system (size, shape and colour) the problem still remains of greatest concern. With the increase of automation the scientist must solve the problem of complex interaction groups of sensors tied together by a single system of computer network. The development of new flexible technologies and sociological problems involved need, of course, a new approach too.
So in the ultimate automated factory there will be few, if any, operators or quality control inspectors. Instead, sensors attached to the machines, materials handling systems and package equipment will consider the conditions within their range and send data to programmable controllers, computers or self-contained microprocessors. These units will process the data and send commands back through the system — all without human intervention.
2. Find in the text English equivalents to the following words and word combinations:
cталевий зливок, перетворювати, електрична енергія, посилювач, перевіряти дефекти, оцінювати якість, напруга, замкнута система, зворотній зв’язок, тверді частини, взаємодіючі групи, втручання людини.
3. Make up word combinations from these words, translate them into Ukrainian:
flexible, steel, technologies, ingot, recognition, sequence of, system, operations.
4. Write out the Future Continuous Tense form (affirmative, negative) of the following words:
Model: to write – will be writing (affirmative) – won’t be writing (negative)
to convert, to produce, to describe, to improve, to interact, to attach, to move, to solve, to involve, to process.
5. Transform the following sentences from 1st person (I, we) to the 3rd person (he, she, it, they).
1. I shall be correcting tiny changes in speed.
2. We shall be describing these systems by the term “a closed loop”
3. I shan’t be involving new flexible technologies.
4. We shall be converting this information into the set of instructions.
5. We shall be improving the equality of automation.
6. Answer the following questions:
1. What will the structure of a future plant be?
2. What is “a closed loop”?
3. Why is it essential to improve the quality of automation equipment?
4. What are the main parts of the automatic three-dimensional recognition systems?
5. What will the functions of the sensors attached to the machines be?