WORK PROCESSES -simplified overview

Post 657 -by Gautam Shah

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Workshops till middle age were craftspeople oriented. Mechanical power drives allowed heavy duty jobs and precision or micro work. Mechanical devices like gears, leather belt transmission and need for greater productivity by exclusive task assignment provided standardized products on a massive scale. Some degree of linear production planning was occurring. The power shaft forced organization of workshops on linearity. The line production methods promoted productivity through time management and sequencing of task procedures. In many instances tasks began to be assimilated and handled simultaneously in a single time slot.

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power shaft pulley beltsDuring the early part of the 20th C. machines became adjuncts to assembly-line production systems and multi tasking. For this machine became a device to handle a variety of tools, often simultaneously. The machines were operating at a faster speed requiring equally fast control system.

595px-Machine_shop_in_the_Government_Printing_OfficeMechanical power transmission systems were concurrent systems for the entire workshop, but the impediment was removed with the electric power. Electrical power offered local control through an electric motor (horse power) rating, speed variation through voltage control, and operational control like start-stop, etc. Independent electric powered machines with faster and multi tasking capabilities, however, were now difficult for human supervision. Control devices were actuators, for process regulation.

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Control devices or systems are of two types: A Feed-forward system has inputs or predicts unusual happening, but would not oversee or govern the actualization of the action. A Feedback system improvises strategy for future actions in many instances oversees actions being taken.

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Feed-forward systems: Jacquard weaving loom uses a feed-forward control as a programmed punched card to weave a pattern, but cannot stop the loom if there is a short feed of thread. Similarly a cutting machine cuts a large sized shape by moving the cutter tracing a small scale pattern through the arm of a pantograph.

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Feedback systems: A wind mill keeps facing the wind with the help of a tail wane. A pressure cooker seals itself with heightened internal pressure of steam. Pressure valves are weight calibrated opening themselves at certain pressure levels only.

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Control devices and systems have led to automation of processes. Automation began in the late 1940s with the development of the mechanical devices for moving and positioning objects on a production line, though observation and manual intervention were necessary. During 1960s digital computers began to offer control systems in three different manners: For supervisory or optimizing control, Direct digital control, and Hierarchy control. In the first instance, for the supervisory control a computer sets parametric levels for optimizing the operations. In the second instance, for the direct-digital control, several devices feed data to a single processor, which then decides a strategy of operation. The advantage here is very fast and objective evaluation of the data. The third system the hierarchy control applies to all the plant-control situations concurrently, often with the actuation of the control mechanisms.

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SPACE IDENTIFIERS

Post 656 -by Gautam Shah

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A space is a recognized and improvised, or a designed configuration for a range of behaviour. The layperson recognizes and improvises, and the expert designs it, but can only surmise how it will manifest. The stack holders are often not aware of the basis of the recognition, improvisation or design. Yet everyone does arrive at common realization.

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Very vast exterior spaces are recognized for the markings that indicate sensorial ‘effects’. Other exterior spaces are finite, shaped and sized by bounding elements. Neighbourhood spaces are known through their bounding elements, which could be natural, and exploited or improvised. Spaces for inhabitation require greater degree of intervention then improvisation, and so are designed as enclosures.

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Markings are evident through physical elements like: edges, banks, thresholds, slopes, plains or fences and environmental effects thereon. We perceive only certain range of space. The reach varies with perceiver’s capacity, needs and environmental conditions, so is very circumstantial. The behaviour with reference to markings is perfunctory as it relates to the potential –what can one do with it ? A wild exterior space defined by the markings is an infinite realm.

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Bounding elements are definitions that dimension, grade, scale and proportion a space. These define the change like a drop in terrain, contour, variation colour or texture, illuminated or shaded objects, etc. The bounding elements indicate the purpose of the space, and in many cases even the nature of its ownership and structure of administration. Such elements restrict the perception or environmental effects. Neighbourhood spaces have recognizable geometric order or a predictable configuration, purposive locations for anchorage, well-defined zones, distinct routes and paths, good visibility (and other clarity of other sensorial perception) and recognition of the whole and its parts. The depth or scale of the space is defined by the sensorial reach of users, such as vision, hearing, smelling, touches etc.

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Enclosures, man-made or natural, are very evident from the change in environment they cause. The enclosures, like shell, roofs, coverings, awnings, curtains, partitions, ceilings etc. create a dimensional space. A space created by an enclosure is far more enduring then one defined by the bounding. A very strong enclosure creates an isolated space, with very limited relevance. However, translucency of the enclosure allows exchanges. Enclosures become vibrant through transgressions, as extrusive encroachment or intrusive yielding. It creates a wide variety of purposive settings.

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The virtual immediacy, of the interior and the exterior realms is like an antithetic zone to the other. It is also achieved by carrying across the impressions of the other.

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A space segment, a wild exterior with markings, a neighbourhood with bounding elements or an enclosure, cannot become a setting for habitation, till further sub-zoned into locations for various tasks and identified with the environmental qualities.

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MASHRABIYA -an opening system

Post 655 -by Gautam Shah

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Mashrabiya an extensive opening system, was very common feature of mid East or Arab architecture. Mashrabiyas were placed on upper floors of urban houses usually on street faces, but occasionally on the internal courtyard sahn side. Such openings were also used in palaces, public buildings such as hospitals, inns, schools and government buildings, but rarely seen in rural areas. Mashrabiya in farm houses and for out of the town buildings are more open, with reduced amounts of lattice work and without the lining of glass.

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Mashrabiya openings are presumed to have formed during 12th C in Baghdad. Iraq and Egypt are two countries where many examples survive. These are more common in Eastern (mashriq) parts of the Arab world, then the Western (maghrib) parts. Basra is often called the city with Mashrabiyas. Such openings were later introduced in France from their colonial sources, and called Moucharabieh.

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The word Mashrabiya has varied origins. It denotes drinking or absorbing. The name perhaps has derived from a wood lattice enclosed shelf located near or against a window to cool the drinking water pots. The shelf evolved as a full enclosure to cover an entire wall of the room. Mashrabiya also has originated from verb Ashrafa =to overlook, ignore or to observe.

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Mashrabiyas have carved wood latticework and often stained glass. Lattice designs differ from region to region. The latticework, though commonly formed of elements of a lathe carved long wood sections, called bobbins. Lower sections of the opening are opaque, or with denser lattice work. The smaller openings in the lower section obscured vision from outside, and reduce the air draft. Larger openings in the upper parts allow better air draft and illumination. Mid part of the Mashrabiya is provided with sliding or side-hung shutters. Such clear gaps were used for drawing up the purchases from street vendors. Sections of Mashrabiyas are also lined with coloured or stained glass to form an enclosed balcony, and an adjunct space to the room.

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Mashrabiya adds space to rooms on the upper floors without increasing the foot print area of the building. These have also been used for correcting the shape of upper floor front room. Mashrabiya allows air from three sides to enter, even if the drought outside was parallel to the house facade. Mashrabiyas also provide shade for the ground floor openings. As a projected opening system, it offers a longer sideways view in a narrow street.

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Mashrabiya work as an independent enclosed balcony or as a space attached to a room. Egyptian Mashrabiyas project out at a slightly raised level, providing for a Dakkah. A Dakkah is also a masonry platform attached to the front part of a house, covered with a rug. It is used for informal talk and tea in Arab rural areas. A Dakkah is an arrangement similar to Ota or Otla in a traditional Indian house.

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Shanashil is net or wood screen-covered verandah or porch over looking a street or garden. The meaning of Shanashil is ‘the hanging silk’. First Shanashil was found in 1800s Iraqi houses of Basra and Baghdad. Shanashil and Mashrabiya have little difference except chiefly the depth aspect. Shanashils are covered galleries so have greater depth compared to Mashrabiya, and former ones are in level with the interior floor.

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There are several equivalent forms of openings. Oriel and bay windows have been used to enlarge the room space and receive more light and from many directions. Similarly Indian projected opening systems Zarokhas have been built in wood and stone with open and lattice covered form like Mashrabiya. Both reduce the glare, provide privacy and offer extended space. All these forms transgress outward and undulate the exterior surface. A caboose is an extended opening used in Automobiles and railway carriages for gaining side-way view of the street or estate. This has, though smaller size of width and projected depth. A caboose also occurs as a projected niche.

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