The Effect Of Digital Technology On Manufacturing Essay

The Effect Of Digital Technology On Manufacturing Essay

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The use of Digital Manufacturing technologies such as CNC machines and Computer Aided Design (CAD) is becoming increasingly important in both Guitar making and furniture making. With the use of examples including Ercol, Peter Wood, Alex Bishop Guitars and Gibson, as well as references to other guitar and furniture making companies throughout, I am going to investigate how these advances in technology have had an effect on manufacturing for both a traditional guitar maker, and a traditional Windsor chair. I will also be comparing this to large scale manufacturing companies. There is no denying technology such as CNC machines are a huge step forward in both fields, with increased precision, reduced cost and reduced time for jobs. However does this necessarily means an improvement in quality? Or are traditional techniques still superior in achieving the highest quality Guitars and Windsor Chairs.


The most important aspect of guitar is the quality of sound, good sound quality is mainly achieved from the accuracy of the neck and fret board, TALK ABOUT FRETBOARD along with a variety of other aspects that I will discuss later. To research the techniques of a traditional guitar maker, I visited an independent guitar maker in Corsham, called Alex Bishop (Figure 1). Alex Bishop makes a variety of guitars including gypsy jazz, folk and occasionally electric, however after speaking to him he tells me his passion is definitely in the making of acoustic guitars. Alex tells me once he starts making a guitar it takes around 3-6 months before the instrument is fully completed, approximately 120 hours’ worth of work in all. This is very different to a mass manufacturing guitar making company such as Gibson Customs (Figure 2) who produce around ...


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...ason why they do not use as many different materials as Alex is simply because they require a wood that is consistent, as well as one that is also easily accessible> Gibson require a vast amount of wood and material compared to Alex and other small traditional makers. Another reason why Alex uses more exotic woods and materials is because he has a lot more freedom to do so, a large company such as Gibson is a lot more likely to have pressure from outside environmentalists for the use of exotic materials and woods as they are mass producing guitars, compared to Alex who is possibly only making 1 or 2 at a given time. While exotic timbers do give an interesting aesthetic to a guitar, and he has the freedom to do this, I do not feel like it is something that needs to be done, and there are more sustainable alternatives that also give an interesting aesthetic to a guitar.

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