Embedded chips are so widely used in manufacturing that it is now too late for manufacturers to test for all noncompliant chips. They will not know what the extent of the crisis will be until 2000. But one thing seems certain: there will be a significant loss in productivity.
This report is posted on the site of the Institute for Internal Analysis of Rutgers University. Locate the document under
Year 2000 documents
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Bob Brown is the Vice President of Bluegrass Y2K Group, which is our Y2K user group. He is a past President of the Central Kentucky Computer Society, which has over 1100 members in the Lexington, Kentucky area. He wrote the following response to Manufacturing Systems magazine.
Diagnosing and repairing those few systems will be an enormous undertaking. There are special reasons why this may be even more difficult than dealing with the Y2K problems of the mainframe world.
The trouble lies in the development history of manufacturing systems. Many systems consist of a mix of sensory devices, computers, controllers and some custom designed hardware logic combined with home grown, special purpose software. These systems are unique, under-documented and, in almost all cases, not well understood by the current staff.
Many manufacturing sites will have a few such time bombs. The task at hand is to identify these monsters and decide what to do about them. In many cases complete replacement will be the lower cost alternative even though that cost will be high.
There is insufficient time left between now and the Y2K to do the full job of system analysis, specification, construction and programming for some of these systems. There are some that will just have to be abandoned. This means some manufacturing locations will have some processes they can no longer perform. Businesses must learn to deal with that situation.
Most business managers cannot fathom how complex some of their internally developed, home brewed manufacturing and process control systems have become. Some systems have evolved over years with contributions from several engineers, programmers, technicians and others just trying to squeeze a few more production cycles from antiquated equipment. . . .
This is the equivalent of having painted oneself into a corner. Some companies are depending on equipment that will fail with the Y2K and have no way to correct the problem short of complete redesign and replacement. It seems inescapable at this late date that there will be some manufacturing capacity lost.