Friday, December 17, 2004

The Road Ahead

Just ran across this Ford assembly line nanotech analogy in The automaker's new slogan is "Built for the Road Ahead," but I wonder who's at home over at Ford now who has the manufacturing vision of ol' Henry (without his anti-Semitism, of course) and can truly see what's ahead beyond short-term economic interests?

    FordIn the early 20th century, Henry Ford built a car manufacturing plant on a 2,000-acre tract of land along the Rouge River in Michigan. Built to mass-produce automobiles more efficiently, the Rouge housed the equipment for developing each phase of a car, including blast furnaces, a steel mill and a glass plant. More than 90 miles of railroad track and conveyor belts kept Ford's car assembly line running. The Rouge model was lauded as the most efficient method of production at a time when bigger meant better.

    The size of Ford's assembly plant would look strange to those born and raised in the 21st century. In the next 50 years, machines will get increasingly smaller -- so small that thousands of these tiny machines would fit into the period at the end of this sentence. More here.