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Three very big names in the US software and computer services sector have joined Tandem Computers Inc’s Tandem Integrated Manufacturing Environment strategy. The three signing joint development and marketing agreements with the Cupertino, California fault-tolerant minimaker are GM’s Electronic Data Systems Corp, Management Science America’s MSA Advanced Manufacturing Inc, and Boeing Co’s Boeing Computer Services. The Integrated Manufacturing strategy defines three prerequisites for factory control implementations: device control and management, factory control and management, and product and process document management. These functions are designed to enable manufacturers to connect to and integrate functionally business planning, engineering and factory floor devices in a distributed multi vendor environment. Tandem’s Distributed Control & Management System application functions include connections and control of programmable logic controllers, robots, numerically controlled tools, and electronic test equipment, to give management up-to the-minute information on shop floor activities. MSA Advanced Manufacturing and Tandem are developing a series of modules for the factory control and management system, which provides on-line monitoring, traceability and control of the factory. Functions include material tracking from the receiving dock through the manufacturing process and shipping; short-term resource scheduling and optimisation; employee data collection and analysis; quality management; and inventory control and maintenance planning. Boeing Computer Services and Tandem will co-develop and market the product and process document management function of the integrated strategy. This provides the connection between engineering and manufacturing by hosting computer aided design workstations and handling the storage, configuration management of engineering design information, and manufacturing process documents and programs.

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