A world first! Early real-time systems in the 1960s steel industry – the technology, the developers and the users.

Speaker: Geoff Henderson
Date: Thursday 18th March 2021
Time: 14:30

Via the Internet using ZOOM.


About the seminar

This was the world’s first real-time shop-floor data collection system in the steel industry, (if not the first in any industry), made possible by a perfect storm of new technology, smart (mostly Welsh) people and enlightened management. The talk covers our first steps from placing off-line technology on the shop floor through to the almost complete real-time coverage of the entire process by 1973. Another first was a real-time order-entry system which integrated directly with the scheduling and production systems. The benefits generated by these systems put the Port Talbot works amongst the leading plants in the world. The message processing system built in 1968 still runs today.

About the speaker

I led the team that developed and successfully implemented this system, on time and on budget. Nationalisation of the steel industry had led by 1973 to stasis, internal politicking and a lack of ambition so I joined IBM as a systems engineer, switched to sales and after a successful sales career retired in 2000 as Director of Finance Sector for one of the five regions in EMEA. Since then I’ve run a computer group for my local U3A and give presentations on art and history across south Wales.

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