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Chapter 5: Applications
5.1 Many applications can be performed on the FR 80. For purposes of explanation, they are divided into the following general categories: business, scientific, engineering, and publishing.
5.2 Information retrieval has been the first large-scale COM business application. Mailing lists or account files are recorded on l6mm roll film from which a number of copies are made. Subsequent changes in address are verified against the recorded addresses so that rejects can be noted in later data processing cycles. Similarly, when a customer calls to question his ledger account, the history is available to the customer service representative. In a bank, for example, the current status of every account may be available to every branch.
5.3 A typical retrieval application is a batch-processed file that is updated daily, weekly, or on a cycle billing basis. If an up-to-the-minute status is required, online terminals are generally used. Thus, an airline will use a microfilm retrieval system for the semi-monthly updated airline guide, while right beside it is an on-line terminal for reservation status.
5.4 The advantages of COM are speed, compactness of data, and lower reproduction costs. For example, an FR 80 with the high-speed page composition option can record up to 15 times faster than a typical line printer. A single 4" x 6" microfiche can have 192 pages of computer printout at 42X reduction, plus a title block that can be read at arm's length. The reproduction cost for a microfiche is approximately 10 cents, and viewers are now available for less than $100.
Charts and Graphs
5.5 Business data output from a computer is usually in the form of an alphanumeric listing. Some companies have acquired graphics plotters (and a staff to program them) so that this data can be reduced to charts and graphs for rapid interpretation. But most companies still rely on a staff of people armed with chart pads and a photographic capability. Unfortunately, it may take several weeks before the computer data can be converted into chart presentations for use by management. For those who believe a picture is worth a thousand words, there is another way.
5.6 The FR 80 takes the raw data tape from the computer, with weekly sales information, for instance, and records all of the detailed information on microfiche. Using the same tape and running it again, the FR 80 next constructs and records a complete set of charts and graphs on roll film. These charts are then run off in 8-1/2" x 11" size on a hardcopy machine such as a Xerox Copyflo. The complete package, consisting of hardcopy charts and a backup data on microfiche, is available for management review only hours after the computer has finished updating the files.
5.7 Stock charts are a notable example of a business application where chart presentations are preferred to computer listings. Wherever management decisions or evaluations are made on the basis of data presentations, business executives should be able to review that data in an easy-to-read form that can be quickly produced, instead of being limited to voluminous computer printouts and delayed handmade charts. The FR 80 can also record business charts in color for direct viewing through 35mm slide projectors.
5.8 There are many scientific uses for the FR 80. The following are a few that have already been implemented.
5.9 The ability of the FR 80 to record as many as 64 levels of gray makes it very useful in presenting data pictorially.
- A cloud cover photograph of the earth is a good example. Gray-level data telemetered from a weather satellite can immediately be recorded on the FR 80 and evaluated by weather scientists.
- In the petroleum field, geologists are accustomed to viewing variable density seismic recordings. These can now be produced on the FR 80. Full-size blowbacks are inexpensive and have astonishing clarity.
- Images enhanced by computer techniques such as Fourier transformations can be re-recorded directly on the FR 80 for evaluation.
5.10 The FR 80's plotting capability, particularly with the Model 8026 high-resolution camera, makes it possible to record very complex plots in a single 35mm frame. The clarity of these FR 80 plots approaches that of the best pen-and-ink plotters, at a small fraction of the time and cost associated with the pen plotters.
5.11 Contour Maps. The petroleum industry, public utilities, highway departments, and geologically oriented organizations are typical of those who have use for contour maps. Of definite economic value is the FR 80's ability to produce, in less than a minute, the same maps that require an hour or more on a pen-and-ink plotter. Hardcopy 30X (or more) blowbacks of FR 80 plots approach the quality of original pen-and-ink plots.
5.12 Perhaps even more important are the host computer savings resulting from the FR 80's ability to record the more natural and compact raw vector and character data rather than having to convert it to the incremental point plot format. Savings on data tape approach 80% to 90%, while host computer time is cut by up to 40% to 50%.
5.13 The FR 80 can be operated with either l6mm or 35mm sprocketed, pin-registered movie cameras.
5.14 Scientific Data. The representation of natural phenomena, such as particle movement in a nuclear environment, can be very graphic by recording and projecting it with each movie frame representing a time interval.
5.15 Structural Analysis. Computer animation has been very effective in viewing perspectives for architectural evaluation. Also, aircraft structural design has been aided by making animated movies to view the effects of the aircraft under stress. This is much better than looking through stacks of computer printouts several feet high.
5.16 Design Evaluation. By using the 19-element man in animated action, scientists have been able to evaluate human factors during the design phase of aircraft cockpits, etc. Also, simulations of various functions such as aircraft engine changes, and pilot visibility during landings, have prevented costly design errors.
5.17 Educational Films. Anyone who has seen the better training films used by the military services can appreciate how the most complex principles can be effectively presented. Calculus, statistics, physics, and even the new math can benefit from this type of visual presentation.
5.18 Commercials. More and more TV program lead-ins and commercials are the product of computer animation. The Norelco electric razor ad with the computer man was recorded on an FR 80.
5.19 The graphic capability of the FR 80 makes it particularly adaptable for use in engineering applications.
Engineering Data Plots
5.20 For years, COM recorders have been used to plot engineering data. In fact, this application was the rationale for the development of COM at the beginning of the 1960s. For some companies, this is still the basic application. The cost savings can be very large, particularly when one considers the cost of a delay in the development of a complex system such as an aircraft, ship, rocket or space vehicle.
5.21 A sizeable percentage of the total cost of the development of a product is chargeable to documentation. Entire floors of buildings are filled with draftsmen producing and revising drawings. It wasn't until recently that the COM recording technology reached the point where it was feasible to COM-record engineering line drawings on 35mm film, with sufficient quality to eliminate the need for photographing an original full-sized drawing.
5.22 Standards groups are currently working on a COM engineering drawing specification that would provide an alternative to the current MIL specifications. A few companies are already producing line drawings in this fashion, using the FR 80.
5.23 Not all engineering drawings are line drawings. In some cases, a substantial percentage is strictly computer printout. One organization is using the FR 80 to record eight pages of computer printout with randomly occurring forms on a single 35mm frame. These frames are mounted in aperture cards for use in the company's aperture drawing system. Previously, this would have involved piecing together the eight pages and carefully overlaying the appropriate forms in preparation for photography by a planetary camera system. Moreover, the resulting frame would not have had the quality of the FR 80 frame, which is recorded in only 3 or 4 seconds.
5.24 IBM side-chain printer tapes and tapes formatted for pen-and-ink plotters, such as the CalComp 500, 600, and 700 series, can be recorded directly on the FR 80.
Printed Circuit Boards
5.25 Computers have been easily adapted to the design of printed circuit boards. The FR 80 can provide high-quality film output for the engineer to verify the accuracy of the design. This is not limited to the usual single-stroke appearance of the pen-and-ink plot; the various line widths, pads, and filled-in areas can be shown exactly the way the finished board would look. In fact, the FR 80 is capable of producing 35mm film of sufficient quality to be blown up for the final film master. III has made some of its own printed circuit boards in this manner.
Integrated Circuit Masks
5.26 Presently, integrated circuit masks are made on large, flat-bed plotters. By using an FR 80 coupled to a film transport, to provide the necessary increase in resolution and accuracy, a marked reduction in turnaround time and costs can be achieved.
Numerical Control Applications
5.27 The FR 80 presents a very convenient way of quickly and economically checking N/C tapes for errors before proceeding with metal-cutting operations.
PERT (CPM) Networks
5.28 The automation of PERT (CPM) network production by use of the FR 80 will produce substantial savings in time and cost over manual methods currently in use. There are several software systems available today, which, when used in conjunction with the FR 80, will completely eliminate the need for network drawing.
5.29 The FR 80 can offer substantial savings in printing applications common to most corporate organizations. Making plates directly from FR 80 output results in fewer pages and plates, thus reducing printing costs. Some of the more common applications are:
- Price lists
- Parts catalogs
- Standard parts lists
- Short-run computer printout