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Automating the Future - A History of the Automated Manufacturing Research Facility 1980-1995



J M. Zenzen


The book examines the many challenges scientists from the National Bureau of Standards and later, the National Institute of Standards and Technology faced in realizing their dream of a fully Automated Manufacturing Research Facility (AMRF). The author's central argument, developed in five chapters, is that government has the responsibility to provide the research support needed by industry now and in the future, to encourage growth and stability. Industry alone does not have the financial resources to engage in this work. Chapter One explains why the primary research institute of the U.S. Federal Government would venture into the world of automated manufacturing. Chapter Two provides the details of how the AMRF went from an idea talked about among scientists to an actual place set in the NBS machine shops. Chapter Three recounts the many challenges faced and overcome to demonstrate the feasibility of an automated factory. Chapter Four relates how the AMRF shifted focus after full demonstration of the facility in 1986 and finally, Chapter Five looks at the reasons for closing the AMRF in 1995 and its legacy.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 967
Report Number


automation, collaborative research, computers, machine tools, robots, standards, workstations


Zenzen, J. (2001), Automating the Future - A History of the Automated Manufacturing Research Facility 1980-1995, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD (Accessed May 30, 2024)


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Created March 1, 2001, Updated October 16, 2008