The factory is the icon of the industrial age. For decades, our culture was proud of the dark, loud caverns that helped to shift millions of workers out of poverty and into the middle class. It was factories that helped America become a determining factor in World War I, and it was even more factories that enabled the US to dominate in two wartime theaters during World War II. Both wars were won in the factory.
During the first half of the 20th Century, the factory was viewed as a positive force. You can see this in the Detroit murals by Diego Rivera where he romanticizes the worker and shows the factory as noble and powerful.
In the post-war era, bilging pollution and mindless soul-killing work produced a negative view of the factory. As we entered the 21st Century and production shifted to Asia, the American factory slipped into decline, morphing into an image of decay and dystopian horror.
The artwork in this slideshow reveals our cultural take on the factory.
I predict a new image of factories will emerge in the coming decades with a positive image of antiseptic precision and magnificent robotics that again elevates our standard of living.
Click on the image below to start the slideshow.
In the 1950s, cutaways became a popular way to depict buildings with complex interiors. This drawing shows the progressive stages of ice cream production, from tanks of liquid ingredients to packaging and shipping. (Source: sciteckinfo.com)
Rob, these are someinteresting views of the factory. Actual factories are either very impresive or somewhat blase. The truth is often not as dramatic as artists make it out to be. Having been in very large factories and very small ones, it is interesting that, in general, one rarely has such a grand view of the whole factory floor.
Rob, one of my favorite has always been the spacecraft factories I had worked at. These are, of course, very low volume, but they always had several things going. There was also a test building, which was separate. I think that was in case something went wrong. They were always full of complex machines.
Another very exotic types of facility is big science. When I was at the University of Maryland we had our own cyclotron in the basement. This also had a very large machine shop to keep it going. I had an old sports car that I was restoring and the slave cylinder went out on my clutch. The guys in the shop made me a new one out of titanium. I was a thing of beauty. In the Chicago area we have Fermilab, and also Argone National Labs. The Advanced Photon Source (APS) is an older accelerator that is currently used to produce very high energy "light" for both industrial and research purposes. The machinery there and the devices they make are very intesting and exotic.
Some humanoid walking robots are also good at running, balancing, and coordinated movements in group settings. Several of our sports robots have won regional or worldwide acclaim in the RoboCup soccer World Cup, or FIRST Robotics competitions. Others include the world's first hockey-playing robot and a trash-talking Scrabble player.
A recent example of a major CAE revamp is MSC Apex, released last month by MSC Software Corp. In a discussion with Design News, MSC executives noted that its next-generation platform is designed to substantially reduce CAE modeling and process time, “in some cases from weeks down to hours.”
The Thames Deckway would run for eight miles close to the river’s edge, rising and falling slightly with the tidal cycle. It will generate its own energy from a series of devices that will line the pathway and use a combination of sources to make the path self-sustaining.
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