Automation

To the layman, largely guided by the popular press, "automation" appears as a startling modern invention which will lead to the wholesale establishment of automatic factories and the building of automatic ships.

To the engineer automation is merely a contemporary phase in the process of technical evolution that has gone on continuously since the first crude machine. The engineer's aim has always been to make the best use of machines, materials and money.

The answer, of course, does not lie in the mass installation of "black boxes", electronic or otherwise. It lies in the ingenuity and breadth of vision of the people involved in designing the control system.

The primary aims of control are to reduce the inefficiencies inevitably associated with human machine minding. A complete elimination of human judgement is quite impracticable. However highly developed an automatic system may become the skill and experience of the trained operator will still be essential.