Essay, Research Paper: Computer Production


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The market for computer products is a multi-billion dollar business where one
can find a perfect balance of technology and efficiency. The huge industrial
market is lead by such names as IBM, Hewlett Packard, and Compaq. In the world
today, computers are used for a variety of tasks and play a crucial role in the
areas of academics and business. The steps that are taken to bring the computer
from several small components to a desktop product are organization of the
manufacturing facility, assembly of hardware, installation of software, and a
test process. The production of a high quality product is important to computer
buyers. The following discussion demonstrates steps large corporations take to
make an efficient computer. Companies such as IBM and Apple computers are well
known in the computer industry. These companies have several manufacturing
facilities around the world where thousands of computers are built.
Manufacturing factories, which typically range between “75,000 to 200,000
square feet”() in size, produce approximately 14,000 systems weekly. Companies
generally use 2 methods of computer assembly. One method involves complete unit
assembly by one person, the other being group assembly where several people
construct a single computer (the latter method is known as assembly line
production). A factory employing the single unit assembly method produces about
40 to 60 computers a day (this number varies base on the complexity of the
system being assembled). The assembly line method yields approximately 70
computers a day in the average factory. The assembly line method is the most
efficient way to produce computes as individual workers become highly
specialized in a specific task. In addition, the next person down the ‘line’
can check the pervious person’s work to check for errors. “Additional
inspection [, as used on assembly lines] tends to increase the computer’s
quality”(). The first step in manufacturing a computer is for the designer to
consider a balance between economic need (customers price level) with computer
power and practicality. Manufacturers try to make the best computer (in a given
price range) for the lowest cost. Once a specific model is designed the company
orders the high quality parts from their own component manufacturing divisions
or outside suppliers. Inventory control is an important part of acquiring
components as, to remain efficient, the company tries to avoid overstocking.
Manufacturers take note of the consumer demand, on a daily basis to efficiently
establish quantities for the production line. Top manufactures such as IBM and
Apple buy computer components for their products based on “availability,
quality and priority of the configuration” (). When assembling a computer,
there are 8 to 10 major components installed including the processor speed chip,
the motherboard, RAM (Random Access Memory), diskette drive, modem or network
card, video card, hard drive, sound card, and CD-ROM. Before the components are
placed into the computer, each part undergoes an extensive testing process
called “quality control” (). Quality control ensures that faulty systems are
not shipped. As an initial step, prior to the assembly process, an inspection of
the outer case to ensure that there are no scratches or defects. The brand name
and indicator labels are put onto the computer case at this time. Next the
motherboard is installed and prepared for the processor chip. The chip (which is
often a Pentium chip) is attached to the motherboard along with the RAM
component. Once the chip and RAM are installed, the internal speakers and sound
card are placed into the case. The hard drive, disk drive and CD-ROM drive are
in snuggly attached to the computer chassis. All these components are then
attached to the motherboard with cables so that they may communicate with each
other. Power supply is then applied to the computer and other additional
components such as the video card, and modem are added near a final stage of
assembly. After all these components are installed to create the finished
‘PC’, the unit is thoroughly inspected to ensures that all the cables
connections are in place and all other defects are fixed. Inspectors also ensure
that cables are in appropriate places so that they do not touch components. This
is important as heat given off components, while operating can cause minor
explosions. The CMOS (complementary metal-oxide semiconductor- circuitry for the
memory and processor) is set up at this time. The top cover is placed onto the
computer and it is shipped off for further testing. All companies differ in
their testing of finished products. A common in most companies includes the
48-hour burn in period. This period is very similar to the burn in period that a
car undergoes following production. After the 48-hour burn in, final diagnostic
tests are completed to ensure all components are working well. If a computer is
ordered with sound cards, speakers are attached to the unit and they also are
tested. Mouse and keyboard components are tested manually by connecting a
testing mouse and keyboard to the ports. The computer is then shipped from the
manufacturing site to the distribution center. At the center, additional tests
are possible as computers are randomly checked and inspected. The computer is
then further shipped to department or retail stores for sale to the consumer. In
conclusion, the production of a computer from a number of components to a
finished product is a complex procedure. It is crucial to have a well-organized
computer manufacturing facility, and it is important that assembly and
insulation of all components is carried out accurately. Final testing is the
concluding step in computer manufacturing process. The testing phase is most
important, as consumers demand high quality and efficient products. In society
today, computers are essential for the flow of information and important
technical tasks. The usefulness of the computer and subsequent consumer demand
for improved models will keep pressure on manufactures to build more efficient,
high quality machines in future years.
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