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This film looks at some of the factors that influence the development of new technologies in industry. It takes, as a case study, the introduction of a new quartz movement into the clocks of a maj...or British manufacturer. During the last few years the technology of the whole clock industry has changed dramatically - and until recently, Metamec (the manufacturer), has imported quartz movements from Germany, while continuing to make in-house electric and transistorised battery movements. Two years ago (1978) they decided that the time had come to develop their own movement. This decision was based on their judgement that the technology had stabilised, and would remain viable for a reasonable period of time, thus making the considerable capital investment involved worthwhile. During times of rapid technical changes, this question of exactly when to make a new investment becomes crucial. In order to develop their own movement, Metamec found it necessary to go outside and buy in the technical expertise. They approached Patscentre (the PA Technology and Science Centre) one of Britain's leading industrial, research and development organisations, who set about a feasibility study which led to their designing a new quartz movement for Metamec. Patscentres approach was first of all to establish that a real (i.e. commercially viable) need existed for the development. In this case to make sure that Metamec would benefit by developing their own manufacturing capabilities instead of continuing to import the movement from overseas. In designing the movement itself they looked particularly for three things - ease of assembly, cost effectiveness, and low reject rates. Their design is now in production, though only on a semi-automatic basis that allows them to deal with any production problems, before finally committing themselves to a fully automatic system. Finally, the film looks at the attitudes of city financiers. Gordon Edge, International Director of Patscentre, talks with an investment executive of a banking house about the expectations of those institutions that are finally responsible for deciding to invest in new technologies.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: T361, Control of technology
Item code: T361; 01; 1980
First transmission date: 1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:23:42
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Producer: Bill Young
Contributors: G. H Blake; Godfrey Boyle; Gordon Edge; A Godfrey; Brian Joy; R Morritt; Zena Owens; David Scottow; Dr David Turner
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Investment; Metamec Ltd; New technology; Patscentre Ltd; Quartz clock movement; Research and development
Master spool number: 6HT/73501
Production number: FOUT073N
Videofinder number: 1087
Available to public: no