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close this bookBlending of New and Traditional Technologies - Case Studies (ILO - WEP, 1984, 312 p.)
close this folderI. Microelectronics/Electronics
View the documentA. Microprocessor/Computer Applications
View the documentB. Other microelectronics/electronics applications

A. Microprocessor/Computer Applications

1. Computer applications in textiles (China). In May 1980, the Beijing Institute of Textile Science and the Beijing No. 1 textile plant installed a computer system designed to monitor 288 looms. The system collects operational data every ten seconds, processes it and prints out the output. It briefs the weaver on his/her own accumulated output and at the end of the shift provides him/her with various data concerning the weaver, production group, workshop and a breakdown diagnosis for each loom.

Prior to computer applications, manual methods resulted in an unnecessary high stock piling, and a high wastage rate of one per cent or a loss of one million metres of cloth in the Shanghai No. 1 Printing and Dyeing Mill. In June 1981, this plant established two microcomputer systems with the collaboration of the Huadong Institute of Textile Engineering, in order to improve quality control and forecast export markets. It is recorded that the new technology applications have reduced the wastage rate from one per cent to 0.1 per cent, or savings of 900,000 metres of cloth per annum.

2. Microprocessors in rice mills (Thailand). A rice miller in Thailand has bought a new rice-sorting machine with 11 microprocessors. This machine sorts out the grains that are diseased or stained, and thus upgrades the quality of the rice.

3. Computerisation in small/medium industries (India). A small firm in India is engaged in mass production of high precision engineering items. The company did not consider a fully-integrated computer system as economical in Indian conditions. Instead, a computer was introduced for handling bulk data of the pivotal materials control system, with manual follow-up based on computer summaries in the field of direct and indirect material consumption control, work-in-process, inter-plant accounting, purchase planning, etc.

4. Use of computers in traditional medicine prescriptions (China). Microcomputers are being used in China for writing out prescriptions of Chinese medicines. In addition, the computers can calculate the prices and weight of medicines, keep accounts and also record the stock.1

5. Use of microcomputers in villages (Egypt). The project, financed by the UN Financing System for Science and Technology for Development (UNFSSTD), involves the use of microcomputers at the village level to generate a data base for a modern health information system. Egypt has been concerned about slow, fragmented and often contradictory reporting on the performance of health services. Under this project, the methodology of data collection has been prepared and training methods for managers and operators have been worked out. Seven microcomputer systems have been installed. With the help of Cairo University, the hardware/software system has been converted to Arabic language. The first phase of the project is operational in a district of Cairo with a population of one million and in the Governorate of Fayoum which covers six districts and another two million people.

6. On-line microprocessor control in traditional industries (United Kingdom)2. The British Sugar Corporation employs microprocessor controllers with their sugar evaporators and crystallisers. These controllers optimise several functions simultaneously and raise productivity and profitability by 75 per cent and 300 per cent respectively.

In the Midlands, a ferrous foundry uses microprocessors to control 12 moulding machines. The microprocessors are also used on its sand mill. This has resulted in lower labour use, and improved quality/productivity.

A textile firm developed a microprocessor “black box” control system for sewing and finishing garments.

7. The Videotext computer-aided education system (Kuwait)3. Videotext is a two-way interactive communication system using specialised terminals, plus home television sets linked to host computers. The system in Kuwait would enable education at home through the use of television terminal hardware and specialised computer programming software to provide screen “pages” in Arabic and Latin characters. The system consists of a central computer linked via the telephone system to special television sets, and connected via a “gateway” system to data banks outside Kuwait.

8. Microprocessors in dairy farming (India). Microprocessors have been developed for measuring and recording the fat content of milk. This device was produced as a result of research and development in a major cooperative society in Western India. This decentralised cooperative collects milk from members twice daily and so copes with small quantities of milk. The price paid is based on the fat content of milk and traditionally a few drops of the milk have to be sampled to determine its fat content. The microprocessor method is non-destructuve and so milk is not wasted (in the traditional method the milk is destroyed in the process of testing). In addition records are kept of the fat content of each sample, thus allowing the cooperative to monitor the aggregate fat content, total amounts paid and the variation of the quality of milk over time. This replaced the cumbersome conventional method used to record the large quantity of data.4

9. Computers in dairy farming (United States). In Wisconsin, a manager of a 250 cowherd uses a computer to record the milk production of each cow twice daily. It compares results with previous ones to determine cows who yields are dropping. The computer is also used in the preparation of reproduction records. It lists the number of days since cows calved, the number of days since cows were bred and the pregnancy status of each cow. Thus, it can list the cows expected to be in heat, distinguish dry cows and predict calving dates.

In Indiana, a consultant uses a computer in a mobile van to design balanced and rationed feeding schedules for different herds of dairymen in the area. The computer calculates forage/concentrate ratios, fibre level in rations as well as daily vitamin and mineral dosage. By estimating the cost of feed required to produce unit quantity of milk the computer can help the dairymen to calculate their profits. The computer rations also enable the cows to produce longer, (5 lactation periods instead of 2.7) and to give more milk of better quality.5

10. Computers in prediction of outbreak of pests in agriculture (United States). Researchers at Michigan State University have used microcomputers to predict the outbreak of pests in an apple orchard scab. The computer was 100 per cent accurate and by using the predictions, fungicides were applied at the appropriate time, thus maximising the effectiveness of the fungicides and eliminating additional sprayings.6

11. Computer networks (United States and Canada). There are computer networks that microcomputers can link up with by modem. These networks give information on weather conditions and forecasts, commodity prices and current market prices for livestock.7