Mechanization of Production

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mechanization of Production


replacement of manual implements of labor in sectors of material production or in labor processes with machines and mechanisms using various types of power and traction for their operation. Mechanization of production also covers the sphere of mental labor. Its main goals are to raise labor productivity and free humans from heavy, labor-intensive, and fatiguing operations. Mechanization of production promotes rational and economical use of raw and processed materials and power, reduction of prime cost, and improvement of product quality. In addition to improvement and replacement of equipment and production processes, mechanization of production is closely linked to a rise in the level of workers’ skills and production organization and to the use of methods of scientific organization of labor. Mechanization of production is one of the main avenues of technical progress; it ensures development of productive forces and serves as the material base for raising the efficiency of public production, which is being developed by intensive methods.

The technical means of mechanization of production includes operating machines, with their engines and transmission devices, which perform preset operations, as well as all other machines and mechanisms that do not participate directly in the operations but are essential for performance of the given production process in general—for example, ventilation and pumping units.

A distinction is made between partial and integrated mechanization of production, depending on the degree to which technical means are provided for production processes, and also on the types of jobs.

In partial mechanization, particular production operations or types of jobs, mainly the most labor-intensive, are mechanized, but manual labor continues to play a significant part, especially in auxiliary loading-unloading and transportation jobs.

A higher degree is integrated mechanization of production, where manual labor is replaced by machine labor in all basic operations of the production process, and also in auxiliary jobs. Integrated mechanization is carried out on the basis of rational selection of machines and other equipment operating in coordinated modes, correlated by productivity and providing optimum performance of the assigned production process. In integrated mechanization of production, manual labor may be retained for particular non-labor-intensive operations whose mechanization would not significantly ease labor and would be economically inexpedient. The human being continues to exercise the functions of control and monitoring of the production process. Integrated mechanization of production creates the possibility of using flow production methods, promotes an improvement in product quality, and ensures uniformity, a degree of precision, and constant observance of preset parameters.

The next step in improving production processes after integrated mechanization is partial or full automation.

The means of labor, as a constituent part of productive forces, are created and refined in the process of social production. The invention of new implements of labor and the introduction of new production processes are directly linked to the development of natural science and are made on the basis of cognition and use of its laws.

Until the industrial revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, the implements of labor were manual, and the number of tools that a person could operate at one time was limited by his natural implements (the organs of his body). Water, wind, and domesticated animals were among the forces of nature used for production work. During the manufactory period that preceded the industrial revolution, the division of artisans’ labor and professions and the specialization of tools reached such a high degree that the prerequisites emerged for combining implements of labor in a machine and using the mechanism to replace the worker’s hands and tools. K. Marx noted, “As a machine, the means of labor acquires a material form of existence that makes possible the replacement of human effort by the forces of nature and empirical, routine procedures by the conscious application of natural science” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed, vol. 23, p. 397).

In the late 18th and early 19th centuries the refinement of implements and methods of labor, the appearance of the general-purpose steam engine, and the use of machines and mechanisms to lighten labor brought about an abrupt increase in the level and scale of production. Replacing manual labor in the performance of production and transportation functions, mechanical means of labor were the starting point of technical progress in various sectors of industry and played an important part in shaping the capitalist method of production. The industrial revolution created conditions for mechanization of production, above all in weaving, spinning, metalworking, and woodworking. The possibility of using the power of a steam engine to drive numerous machines led to the development of very diverse transmission mechanisms, which in many cases grew into highly ramified mechanical systems.

As the size of power and transmission mechanisms increase, as machines become more complex, and as new materials appear that are difficult to process, it becomes objectively necessary to use different machines and mechanisms in machine building itself. Large-scale industry created an adequate technical base for itself when it began using machines to produce machines. Throughout the 19th century, mechanization of production not only penetrated particular elements of the production process but conquered one sector of industry after another, supplanting old, traditional forms of production based on manual labor and primitive techniques. Mechanized production became widespread in all developed countries.

With the development of large-scale industry, the design of equipment for mechanization of production was refined and the power and productivity of the equipment was increased. In the late 19th century the more economical and compact internal-combustion engine was gradually introduced alongside the steam engine. The internal-combustion engine made possible the creation of new operating and transportation machines, such as tractors, motor vehicles, excavators, diesel locomotives, and air-planes. New methods of converting energy appeared, based on the use of steam and hydraulic turbines connected to electric current generators. In the first half of the 20th century the development and improvement of electric machines led to the universal introduction of group and individual electric drive for operating machines in metalcutting, wood-processing, weaving, and forging-and-pressing machine tools, as well as in mining, hoisting, and transporting mechanisms and rolling mills.

In a system of machines the object of labor passes sequentially through a series of interconnected partial processes, which are performed by a chain of different but mutually complementary machines, mechanisms, and devices. The system of mechanical means of labor leads to continuous flow production in its developed form.

The further development of mechanization of production is directed at maximum intensification of production processes, reduction of the technological cycle, liberation of labor, and implementation of integrated mechanization in the most labor-intensive sectors of production.

Among the technical means of mechanization of production that have become well developed are combination machines (combines), in which units arranged in a technological sequence automatically operate on the object of labor. The development of combines, integrated mechanization, and automation led to the creation of automatic transfer machines, automatic shops, and automatic plants, which have high production efficiency.

Under conditions of capitalist society, with the production relations typical of it, the means of labor, which initially was a machine, immediately becomes a rival to the worker, one of the chief means for exploitation of the worker and the most powerful weapon in the hands of the capitalists to suppress worker unrest. “The introduction of machines intensified the division of labor within society, simplified the functions of the worker in the workshop, increased the concentration of capital, and even further dismembered the human being” (K. Marx, ibid., vol. 4, p. 158). The expediency of using new means of production under capitalism is determined by whether their cost is lower than the cost of the labor they replace.

In socialist society, machines and all other technical means of mechanizing labor are created and used not for competitive purposes and exploitation of the worker but rather to raise labor productivity and the economic efficiency of social production and to improve and ease the conditions of labor processes, which in the final analysis means that they are aimed at increasing the wealth and raising the cultural level of the people. V. I. Lenin wrote: “In the old days, human genius, the brain of man, created only to give some the benefits of technology and culture, and to deprive others of the bare necessities, education and development. From now on all the marvels of science and the gains of culture belong to the nation as a whole, and never again will man’s brain and human genius be used for oppression and exploitation” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 35, p. 289).

The most favorable conditions for rational use of mechanization of production as the foundation of technical progress in industry and agriculture are created in the planned socialist economy. “Large-scale machine industry and its extension to agriculture is the only possible economic basis for socialism” (V. I. Lenin, ibid., vol. 44, p. 135). In socialist society, mechanization of production is a powerful human weapon for easing labor in every respect and for steadily increasing social production. Mechanization is also introduced in the socialist national economy in cases where it not only has a material effect but also results in improved working conditions and greater labor safety. By fostering the elimination of heavy manual labor, a reduction in the workday, and an increase in the technical and cultural level and wealth of the working people, mechanization of production plays an important part in implementing scientific organization of production and eliminating the fundamental differences between mental and physical labor.

In the USSR, mechanization of production was the basis for industrialization of the country and collectivization of agriculture; it determines the rate of growth in productivity of social labor based on further development of integrated mechanization and automation of production processes.

The implementation of mechanization of production depends above all on the supply of the most advanced machines, mechanisms, and devices to industry, construction, transportation, and agriculture (see Table 1). In the USSR the production of machines, mechanisms, devices, and equipment in the leading sectors of industry (power and electrical machine building, machine-tool building, and mining and chemical machine building) developed at very high rates. High growth rates are also typical of instrument-making and the production of radio equipment, automatic equipment and computer technology, and household electrical appliances and mechanisms.

Level and efficiency. In practice, the level and efficiency of mechanization of production for a particular sector of production or process are evaluated by different indexes, among them the level of mechanization of labor, the level of mechanization of operations, and the machine-labor and power-labor ratios.

The level (coefficient) of mechanization of labor means the proportion of mechanized labor in the total expenditure of labor to manufacture a given item or perform the work for a section, shop, enterprise, or other unit. It is determined by the ratio of the expenditure of time for the performance of mechanized and manual jobs. The index of the degree of coverage of workers by mechanized labor, which is defined as the ratio of the number of workers performing jobs by mechanized means to the total number of workers, has a similar purpose. The specific characteristics of certain types of production require the introduction of an index such as the level (coefficient) of mechanization of jobs, which is the ratio of the output produced by mechanized means to the total output. This index is used in foundry and forging shops and in transportation and construction work.

The machine-labor ratio is usually expressed as the average per-worker cost of the machines and mechanisms in production. The power-labor ratio (or, in some cases, the electricity-labor ratio) is expressed as the ratio of the mechanical and electric (or only electric) power consumed in the process of production per man-hour or per worker. These indexes are used arbitrarily for comparative evaluation of the mechanization of individual processes.

Factors considered in selecting technical equipment for mechanization of production, whose cost is included in capital expenditures and is transferred to the cost of the product for the entire period of their use, include the weight and dimensions, payback periods, power consumption, reliability of operation, durability of parts and assemblies, ability to maintain basic parameters constant for the entire period of operation, speed of adjustment, suitability for adaptation to perform other similar operations, and ease of operation, inspection, and repair.

Mechanization of production in sectors of the national economy of the USSR. The creation of large-scale socialist industry, capable of resolving the most complex scientific and technical problems and national economic tasks, is the greatest achievement of the Soviet people and represents a triumph of the Leninist ideas of socialist industrialization. The enormous activity in mechanizing work in various sectors of the national economy that has been done under Soviet power is of revolutionary importance. Thousands of types of modern, highly productive machines have been developed and introduced. Systems of machines are being built for integrated mechanization and automation of basic production processes in industry, construction, agriculture, and transportation. The use of manual and heavy labor and unskilled labor in all sectors of the national economy is being consistently reduced by increasing the technical level of production. As this takes place, the need for technical means of achieving full mechanization in all sectors grows steadily.

POWER ENGINEERING. Mechanization of production in power engineering involves the start up of large electric power plants and the creation of unified power systems. An increase in the capacity of power plants makes possible a significant reduction in the consumption of labor, materials, and fuel for the production

Table 1. Growth in production of most important means of mechanization in the USSR
Metalcutting machine tools............1,80058,40070,600155,900202,200211,300
Forging and pressing machines..........4,7007,70029,90041,30044,000
Turbines (MW)........5.91,1792,7049,20016,19114,642
Generators for turbines (MW)...........4689347,91510,57813,661
AC electric motors (MW)...........2802,0837,70319,45636,25940,035
Metallurgical equipment (tons)...1,00023,700111,200218,300314,000322,100
Coal combines..........223448811,1301,117
Grain harvesters..........12,80046,30059,00099,20095,700
Mainline diesel locomotives (sections)51251,3031,4851,488
Mainline electric locomotives........9102396323351
Power shovels.......2743,54012,58930,84434,875
Weaving looms........4,6001,8008,70016,50019,80019,500

of electric power and the use of efficient means of monitoring, regulation, and control, both for individual units and for entire power plants. The power capacity of the USSR will increase primarily through the construction of steam power plants with large power units (capacities of 300, 500, and 800 mega-watts [MW], and later with capacities of 1,000 MW and more). The operation of such power units is fully mechanized, which considerably reduces the labor requirement per unit of installed capacity. Mechanization of production in thermal power engineering is directed at improvement of the means of preparing, loading, and supplying fuel and methods of water purification and ash removal.

For hydroelectric power plants, turbines with capacities of 500 MW (the Bratsk Hydroelectric Power Plant) have been built, and turbines with 630 MW capacity are under construction (for the Saian-Shusha Hydroelectric Power Plant). Reactors with capacities of 1,000 MW and more will be used extensively at atomic power plants. A distinguishing feature of atomic power engineering is full mechanization and automation of technological processes; thanks to a reduction in labor and materials expenditures, this makes atomic power engineering highly competitive relative to traditional sectors of power engineering.

MINING. In the mining industry, the aim of mechanization of production is the reduction of time required to strip, prepare, and begin exploitation of new deposits and horizons, and also reduction of expenditures for maintaining excavations in working condition, which is associated with wider integration of mechanized processes in underground and open-pit extraction of minerals. Highly productive narrow-swath combines and cutting devices that work in combination with mobile face conveyors and individual metal or hydraulic support are used in shafts. As a result of the introduction of machines and mechanisms, the level of mechanization of coal loading in gently sloping and inclined walls was more than 90 percent in 1972; the delivery of coal, underground hauling of coal and rock, and loading of coal into railroad cars have been fully mechanized. Methods of automated coal mining are being introduced, providing a significant increase in labor productivity. Hydraulic coal extraction is developing. The open-pit method of working deposits, with full mechanization of production, is developing rapidly; it is based on highly productive equipment, such as draglines, rotary power shovels, transport-dumping bridges, powerful dump trucks, electric cars, dumpcars, and diesel trolleys.

NATURAL-GAS AND PETROLEUM INDUSTRY. In the naturalgas and petroleum industry the use of high-output means of mechanization of production fostered an increase in the extraction of petroleum and gas and a rise in their share in the country’s fuel balance. In oil fields, powerful drilling equipment (including rigs for drilling deep wells) is in use, and multiple hydraulic drilling rigs, which perform lowering and raising operations separately and in which all drilling processes are mechanized and automated, are being introduced. The equipping of petroleum extraction enterprises with unitized automated rigs, which ensure significant savings in labor, capital, and time, is continuing. The use of unitized and group-unitized production rigs and fully prefabricated buildings and structures with metal frames provides an increase in the level of mechanization and industrialization in the construction of gas extraction enterprises, underground gas storage areas, and gas refineries. Gas pipelines with a diameter of 1,420 mm and an operating pressure of 7.5 meganewtons per sq m are used extensively to transport gas. As a result of the introduction of integrated mechanization and automation, the compressor stations of gas pipelines built in the arctic and other inaccessible regions of the country operate virtually without service personnel.

METALLURGY. In metallurgy, mechanization of production is aimed at completion of mechanization of individual labor-intensive jobs and implementation of integrated mechanization of production in blast-furnace, steel-smelting, and rolling shops. The most difficult jobs near the hearths of blast furnaces, and also all essential operations with tap holes, have been mechanized. The production of mechanized equipment for blast furnaces with capacities of 3,200 cu m is being implemented, and a complex of mechanized equipment for blast furnaces with volumes of 5,000 cu m has been developed. The introduction of new units with increased blast pressure and the use of oxygen makes possible acceleration of the smelting process, a reduction in fuel consumption, and improvement of the quality of the pig iron. In steel production sophisticated filling machines are used, the processes of breaking and setting the lining of ladles and loading large-capacity electrical furnaces are mechanized, and automatic systems are coming into increasingly wide use to control the flow of oxygen in converters, to monitor the carbon content in the metal, and to control heat in open-hearth furnaces.

There will be further development of the converter method of steel production using converters with capacities of 250–300 tons and continuous steel casting with a high level of mechanization of production. To improve the quality of steel, mechanized processes such as treatment of the metal with synthetic slags, vacuuming outside the furnace, and electroslag and vacuum remelting of the metal will be further developed. Machines and equipment operating on the principle of automatic regulation of production processes and integrated mechanization of the operations of preparing the charge, loading the units, and pouring the metals have been built for the new technological processes. Natural gas has come to be used extensively in steel smelting. Fully mechanized hot and cold sheet-rolling mills with unit lines to apply metallic and nonmetallic coatings to the sheets are being introduced in the production of rolled products. The construction of precision and special mills to produce high-grade, high-precision rolled products and economical sections, as well as the creation of mechanized and automated lines for trimming, straightening, grading, stacking, and packing sheet and high-grade rolled products, is envisioned.

MACHINE BUILDING. In machine building, mechanization of production is primarily associated with the quantity and composition of the stock of metalworking equipment, since the machining operations are the most labor-intensive. In mass machine-building production, integrated mechanization of the machining processes is achieved by using unitized, special, and specialized semiautomatic and automatic machine tools. The stock of machine tools for electrophysical and electrochemical methods of machining is expanding; such tools perform many labor-intensive, fatiguing, and even unhealthful manual operations in the manufacture of dies, press molds, turbine vanes, hard-alloy tools, and parts that have particularly intricate shapes or are made of materials that are difficult to work with conventional tools. The use of numerically controlled machine tools and adaptive devices is expanding, and the design and introduction of various types of programmed manipulators and robots are envisioned for the future.

Development of the production of semifinished parts whose shape and dimensions maximally approximate the finished parts will have a significant effect on the mechanization of production in machine building. For this reason, existing specialized enterprises to produce cast and forged parts are being modernized and new enterprises are being built. The proportion of metals worked by pressure is increasing. Equipment for the foundry industry will take the form of technological sets—for example, equipment for mix-preparation sections, sets of equipment for casting by the lost-wax method, and mechanized lines for molding,. teeming, and knocking out cast pieces. Integrated mechanization of production in the processes of welding, heat treatment of parts, and assembly of machines will develop significantly.

Extensive development of unification and standardization of parts and assemblies for general machine building (bearings, reduction gears, couplings, flanges, chains, and so on) and use of standardized tools and rigs, whose manufacture is being organized at specialized enterprises, exerts a significant influence on the level of mechanization of production in machine building.

HOISTING-TRANSPORTING AND LOADING-UNLOADING WORK. In hoisting-transporting and loading-unloading work, mechanization of production is achieved by using cranes, loaders, floor-mounted hoisting and transporting equipment, containers, construction hoists, elevators, cableways, and monorail delivery systems. The hoisting and transportation equipment also includes small means of mechanization, such as pulleys, crane carriages, and block and tackle. The choice of means of mechanization for hoisting-transporting and loading-unloading work is determined by the type of goods (piece, long, liquid, or bulk), the means of transportation (railroad cars, ships, or motor vehicles), the packaging materials, the amount of work to be done, the distance of shipment, and the height of hoisting.

The methods of hoisting, moving, loading, unloading, and packing loads at the shipping and destination points must be integrated and coordinated. The volume of these types of work depends on the number of transshipments. The level of mechanization in hoisting-transporting and loading-unloading work is determined by the ratio of the number of loads processed by mechanical means to the total number of loads processed. The introduction of means of mechanization for the purpose of fully replacing manual labor in intrashop and intershop loading and unloading of materials, parts, and semifinished parts, loading and unloading of railroad cars, trucks, and trailers, and stacking of semifinished and finished goods in shop and plant warehouses is very important for the reduction of labor expenditures at industrial enterprises. The main methods of implementing integrated mechanization for such jobs are rational organization of the warehouse systems of enterprises, location of warehouses as close as possible to the consumer enterprises, and integration of transportation and warehouse operations with the technological processes of the primary production operation; supply of modern mechanization equipment (stacking cranes, floor-mounted electric stackers, and fork lifts) to loading areas and warehouses; centralization of intraplant transportation and introduction of routed shipments; use of progressive means of transportation (conveyors and monorails with automatic addressing of loads, electric tractors, and pneumatic conveying); introduction of uninterrupted transportation of freight, based on extensive use of bale and container shipping using standardized reusable packages; and mechanization of auxiliary operations related to connecting and disconnecting slings in loading and unloading work, the use of containers with automatic slings, and the assembly and disassembly of bales on pallets.

CONSTRUCTION. In construction, mechanization of production is associated with the characteristic features of the technology of construction work, including high freight shipping and hauling intensity and the changeability of work sites. Mechanization of production in construction eases labor and reduces the time required to put units into operation. It is aimed mainly at the transformation of construction into a mechanized flow-line process of assembly and erection of buildings and structures from large-panel elements and assemblies manufactured at specialized plants. The increased production of construction machinery and widespread introduction of prefabricated reinforced-concrete structural members, new building materials, and highly productive work methods resulted in an increase of 60 percent in labor productivity in the period from 1960 to 1970.

Advances in the production of new structural elements, improvement of technological methods of construction, and increases in the volume of elements being installed brought about changes in a number of the parameters of construction machines, sometimes causing fundamental redesigning, and also the appearance of new machines. Powerful earth-moving, road-building, and construction machines, such as multibucket power shovels, rotary and chain trench-diggers, and wheeled single-bucket loaders, have been developed and are being used successfully. In 1972, 90–97.5 percent of the most difficult and labor-intensive excavation, concrete, and erection jobs had been fully mechanized. The loading and unloading of stone, sand, gravel, chipped rock, wood, and metal has been 97 percent mechanized. The machine-labor ratio in construction increased by a factor of 2.5 in the period 1960–72. About one-quarter of the total volume of construction and erection work involves construction from large building elements, assemblies, panels, and blocks with fully prefabricated supporting and dividing elements. Labor in the preparation of concrete and mortar is being mechanized at a high rate. Fundamentally new designs for small means of mechanization and hand tools are being developed; among them are self-propelled machines for rolled and nonrolled roofing of industrial buildings, machines for application and smoothing of plaster, and paint sprayers with protective air screens. The next tasks in mechanizing production in construction are the introduction of machines for loading and unloading cement and for use in plastering, painting, and sanitary-engineering jobs and the implementation of integrated mechanization of production in construction and in the building-materials industry.

TRANSPORTATION. In transportation, mechanization of production is determined by the specific features of the means of transportation. On railroads, mechanization is achieved through the use of progressive means of traction (electric and diesel), an increase in the power of the locomotives (with a corresponding increase in the weight and speed of the trains), the use of large-capacity and self-unloading cars, and the equipping of railroad lines with automatic block signaling and centralized dispatching. The level of mechanization in loading and unloading work is rising on the basis of the use of hoisting and transporting machines on the railroads and sidings of industrial enterprises. Whereas 50 percent of the total volume of loading-unloading work at the freight yards of the trunk railroads in 1960 was done by the fully mechanized method, in 1972 the index was 84 percent.

The mechanization of motor vehicle shipping is continuing to develop. The proportion of large-capacity trucks and tractor-trailer trains in the motor-vehicle fleet is increasing. The use of truck cranes, trucks with hoisting tailgates, container semitrailers, and self-unloading tractor-trailers for carrying metal will make possible mechanization of loading and unloading work in a number of sectors.

Mechanization of production has reached a high level in water transportation. By 1972 the merchant marine and river fleets consisted of more than 90 percent diesel-electric and motor vessels, including dry-cargo vessels and tankers equipped with the latest navigational instruments. Sea and river ports have mechanized equipment, such as portal cranes, electric fork lifts, special hold machines, and floating loader units. More than 90 percent of the cargo in seaports is processed by fully mechanized methods. In river transportation 99 percent of loading-unloading work is mechanized. Plans call for significant expansion of the carrying capacity of sea and river ports and the creation of special highly mechanized units for loading and unloading container, bulk, and lumber cargo.

With the increasing role of liquid and gaseous fuel in the country’s fuel balance, completely mechanized pipeline transportation for petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas is developing at a high rate. In 1973 the USSR had 42,900 km of petroleum pipelines and more than 70,000 km of gas pipelines. The Druzhba (Friendship) oil pipeline, the largest in the world, has been put into operation. It runs from the USSR to the countries of the socialist community.

AGRICULTURE. In agriculture, mechanization of production is one of the most important problems in increasing production efficiency and improving working conditions. The level of mechanization of all types of agricultural work, together with selection, use of chemicals, and moisture regulation, determines the productivity of agriculture.

In 1972 the power capacity of agriculture was about 265 million kilowatts (kW), or 362 million hp, more than 99 percent of which was accounted for by mechanical engines. The power-labor ratio in 1973 was 10.3 kW (14 hp) per worker. In 1973 the fleet of agricultural machines included more than 2.1 million tractors, more than 670,000 grain-harvesting combines, about 1.3 million trucks, and more than 40,000 cotton-harvesting machines. A high level of mechanization has been achieved at kolkhozes and sovkhozes in the basic field jobs (plowing; planting of grains, potatoes, cotton, and sugar beets; harvesting of grains, tea, and silage crops), in interrow tilling of sugar beets and cotton, in grain cleaning, in combine harvesting of grain corn, and in loading grain for hauling from the threshing area. At the same time, in 1972 vegetable planting was only 72 percent mechanized, and for hay stacking the figure was 74 percent; for loading potatoes, 37 percent; and for distribution of feeds, 17 percent at cattle farms and 39 percent at hog farms.

Kolkhozes and sovkhozes will receive more powerful tractors, highly productive grain combines, broad-swath and multirow machines, and composite machines, which perform several operations in one pass. Deliveries to agriculture of earth-moving and reclamation machinery, motor vehicles with larger capacity and better off-road capability, dump trucks, truck and tractor trailers, and specialized motor vehicles are increasing significantly. In animal husbandry and poultry farming the trend is toward the establishment of large specialized industrial-type farms, introduction of electrical machinery, and use of flow production lines (milking and primary milk processing, preparation and distribution of feeds, and so on).

FORESTRY. In the forestry industry, mechanization of production is also directed above all at easing labor in difficult and labor-intensive logging jobs. Processes such as felling, yarding, and hauling of timber are the most highly mechanized. By 1973 logging enterprises had more than 72,000 tractors of various types, more than 35,000 motor vehicles, and 1,600 diesel locomotives. Various types of machines and mechanisms were used to fell timber, debark logs, and load, move, and haul timber. In felling timber, 99 percent of the total volume of work is mechanized; in yarding, 98 percent. Timber hauling has been completely mechanized. Hydraulic wedges and electric and gasoline-powered saws, which are controlled by one person and make it possible to saw down trees with trunk diameters up to 1 m, have come to be used. Machines have been built for skidding without chokers. Powerful logging trucks with special trailers are used to haul the timber to railroads. Highly productive semiautomatic lines for cutting bole logs, as well as machines that perform all the operations of felling trees, trimming branches, cutting the timber, and collecting it in stacks, have been developed. Seventy-five percent of the timber is sent for processing and used in furniture production, as a construction material, and as raw material for the paper and pulp industry.

LIGHT INDUSTRY; FOOD INDUSTRY. In light industry and the food industry, mechanization of production is aimed at easing labor-intensive and fatiguing operations that are done mainly by women. Mechanization of production in light industry involves the organization of new types of production using newly developed materials and new raw material and with the expansion and rapid change of the assortment of products. Light industry is supplied with mechanized flow lines and has almost 500,000 pieces of automatic and semiautomatic equipment. Fully mechanized sections, shops, and entire enterprises are operating in the industry. Enterprises are installing high-output combing, ribbon, spinning-twisting, and pneumomechanical spinning machines, as well as automatic weaving machines, in place of obsolete mechanical equipment.

In the food industry, mechanized and fully mechanized lines producing bread and pastry, continuous and periodic doughpreparation units, and flow lines producing confectionery goods are being introduced. The meat-packing industry is introducing conveyor lines for slaughtering and dressing livestock; mechanized flow lines for processing intermediate products, producing semifinished products, and making sausages, dumplings, and patties; and systems of integrated mechanization and automation for refrigerator shops. The fishing industry is receiving ships equipped with mechanized fish-processing lines, which provide integrated processing of the catch and complete use of waste products to produce nutrient meal.

HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES. In the household appliances industry, mechanization of production is aimed at supplying service enterprises with mechanization equipment, and also at home use of various machines, appliances, and attachments that replace manual labor in preparing and cooking food, washing and ironing linen, and cleaning rooms.

Further development and advancement. The further development and advancement of equipment for mechanization of production are linked to the use of technical advances and scientific discoveries based on development of the natural sciences. The most important trends of scientific and technical progress and development of new means of labor are further development of synthesis, direct conversion of energy, the extent of processing of raw material, and protection of the environment. Under conditions of accelerating scientific and technical progress, the decisive factor in securing growth in labor productivity becomes the establishment of conditions for timely modernization of means of production, taking into account shortened periods for amortization and replacement of real fixed capital. This makes necessary a significant broadening of the range of machines and equipment produced and an increase in their unit capacity, degree of integrated mechanization, and level of automatic control of production processes, as well as extension of production specialization, and the standardization and establishment of norms for machine parts and assemblies. An important role is played by solution of the problem of integrated mechanization of agricultural production and sectors related to it (processing of agricultural products, production of mineral fertilizers and means of plant and animal protection, and irrigation and land reclamation). Further expansion of the sphere of material production and foreign trade depends in large part on the development and operation of all types of transportation, and also on road construction; this requires improvement of the corresponding means of production.

Further development of the technical means of mechanization of production assumes the following:

(1) The creation of new, highly efficient machines, mechanisms, and devices, particularly continuous-operation machines and units, combination machines, and automatons, in which the achievements of modern science and technology are used extensively; design of means of mechanization of production with increased speeds of operation and motion.

(2) An increase in the unit capacity of machines, with a reduction in their specific material and energy consumption and preservation of maneuverability and off-road capability for mobile pieces of machinery.

(3) The creation for various sectors of the national economy of standardized base machines, with sets of replaceable mounted and semitrailer equipment for each standard size, and the production of a broad range of mobile machines, especially loading-unloading, construction, transportation, and road machines.

(4) The use of new high-grade materials (alloy steels, light alloys, plastics, and new high-strength materials), infinitely variable hydraulic and electrical transmissions with broad ranges of speed regulation, automatic devices to maintain optimum modes of operation, and remote and programmed control.

(5) Improvement of the working conditions of service personnel through soundproofing of work areas, provision of air conditioning, and so on.

(6) The use of mechanized means of recording the quantity and quality of output under conditions of integrated mechanization and automation of production processes.


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Efimov, A. N. Sovetskaia industriia. Moscow, 1967.
Puti razvitiia tekhniki v SSSR [1917–1967]. Moscow, 1967.
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Effektivnost’ kompleksnogo razvitiia tekhniki v promyshlennosti. Moscow, 1966.
Mekhanizatsiia i avtomatizatsiia proizvodstva. Moscow, 1971.
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Effektivnost’ mekhanizatsii i avtomatizatsii truda. Leningrad, 1972.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The use of advanced techniques in planting, and specifically the employment of developed mechanization of production techniques, the seed dispersal unit area can result in uniformity of seed dispersal, which in turn can alleviate many of the problems of seed production; saving seeds, planting, and competition for water and food storage in the soil [5].

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