Religion & Spirituality

The collapse of the machine-tool design principle

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Click here for Full Issue of EIR Volume 26, Number 38, September 24, 1999 Richard Freeman The collapse of the machine-tool design principle The battered world physical economy, if it is to survive and
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Click here for Full Issue of EIR Volume 26, Number 38, September 24, 1999 Richard Freeman The collapse of the machine-tool design principle The battered world physical economy, if it is to survive and ever undergo reconstruction, must draw from and be energized by the machine-tool design sector. However, the machine-tool industry s capability is being destroyed. This year, orders and/or consumption of the machine-tool industries of Japan, Germany, and the United States have fallen in the range of between 13 and 41%. These three nations combined produce one-half of the world s machine tools. This indicates a desperate situation for the world economy. It signals the deepening economic collapse in Japan, Germany, and the United States. But, it also indicates the permanent abandonment of any future. The machine-tool design principle is the well-spring of economic growth. Economics starts with man in the image of God, and the capacity of the sovereign individual mind to make revolutionary validatable discoveries in fundamental science, as well as in Classical art and music. In the scientific realm, these ideas are incorporated as designs for machine tools and other advanced machinery. Through this process, they are directly transmit- FIGURE 1 A typical collapse function ted into the physical economy and the productive process, directly imbuing that process with a power that permits man to transform and greatly increase his mastery over nature, advancing civilization. The loss of the machine-tool industry is due to the process that Lyndon LaRouche has scientifically represented as the Triple Curve collapse function, displayed in Figure 1. The financial aggregates, or the speculative bubble, which is represented by the top curve, and the monetary aggregates, which are attempting to hold up the bubble, as represented by the middle curve, suck the life from the physical economy, which is the bottom curve, causing it to collapse. These are three curves, but one simultaneous function. But, what the loss of the machine-tool design principle consists of is something special: If mankind losses the machine-tool design principle, it will never have the chance to advance. Man will be thrust back into ruin and destruction, a world of half a billion semiliterate human beings roaming the Earth which is the explicit goal of Britain s Prince Philip. In fact, this is why the machine-tool industry has been deliberately targetted for destruction, which will documented here in the case of the United States. The machine-tool industry is collapsing at a dramatic rate. Figure 2 shows the consumption of machine tools in the United States. For the first half of 1998, the consumption of machine tools was $3.274 billion; for the first half of 1999, the consumption of machine tools was $1.944 billion, a staggering fall of 41%. If one saw this level of fall and did not FIGURE 2 U.S. machine-tool consumption collapse of 41% ($ millions) 4,000 3,274 Financial aggregates 3,000 +Δ Monetary aggregates 2,000 1,944 Time 1,000 Δ Physical-economic input/output 0 First half 1998 First half 1999 Source: Association for Manufacturing Technology. 34 Feature EIR September 24, EIR News Service Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission strictly prohibited. FIGURE 3 Fall in big three world machine tool production (percent) 0% -10% -20% -30% -40% TABLE 1 The largest machine-tool-producing nations (1998 = $36.8 billion) 1. Japan 2. Germany 3. United States 4. Italy 5. Switzerland 6. China 7. Taiwan 8. United Kingdom 9. France 10. Spain 11. South Korea 12. Brazil Source: Metalworking Insiders Report, World Machine Tool Output and Consumption Report, % Germany, orders Japan, orders U.S.A., consumption Sources: Association for Machine Tool Manufacture; VDMA, German Association of Machine Tool Builders; Japan Machine-Tool Builders Association. know which country it occurred in, one might say, Oh, this is Russia, or, This is occurring in a country in Africa. But no, this occurred in the United States, which, we re told, is in its ninth year of economic expansion. Figure 3 shows the situation for the other two members of the big three machine-tool producers, Germany and Japan. Unlike with the United States, the figures do not show consumption, but rather new orders. But whether one is dealing with consumption or new orders, if they are falling, it all leads back to one thing: a fall in production. For Germany, for the period of May through July of this year compared to May through July of last year, new orders fell by 13%. For Japan, we have a longer span: Comparing the first six months of 1999 to the first six months of 1998, new orders dropped by 33%. What makes this a catastrophe for the world, is the fact that the machine-tool industry is a small industry, but a highly skilled, highly technologically developed industry. It should have been much larger throughout its history but it s not a gigantic industry. Most machine tool shops are what are called in Germany Mittlestand shops, shops of between 10 and 200 employees, which, in the past, were dedicated to technological progress. For purposes of comparison, in 1998, total FIGURE 4 Where world s machine tools are produced (1998 production = $36.8 billion) USA & Canada 13.4% world production of machine tools was only $36.8 billion, out of a total world Gross Domestic Product of $41 trillion. Let us look at just how concentrated world machine-tool production is. Table 1 lists countries in order of size of machine-tool production. Japan, Germany, and the United States are grouped together, because these three countries have averaged, for the last three years, production of 53% of the world s machine tools. If one adds the next four largest machinetool builders, in order of rank Italy, Switzerland, China and, Taiwan then these seven countries produce 79% of the world s machine tools. So, seven countries produce fourfifths of the world s machine-tool output. Next, Figure 4 shows a map of world distribution of machine-tool production. There are three main centers: first, Ja- Ibero- America 1.5% Europe 48.7% Middle East 0% Africa 0% China 5.1% Japan, S. Korea &Taiwan 30.0% India 0.5% Rest of Asia 0% EIR September 24, 1999 Feature 35 pan, Taiwan, and South Korea, which have 30% and remember, Japan and Taiwan are among the world s top seven producers; Europe, which has 48.7%, in which Germany, Italy, and Switzerland make up the lion s share; and the United States and Canada, which have 13.4%, which is almost exclusively from the United States. There s also China, with 5.1% of world production, and India with 0.5%. Now, look at the rest of the world. Ibero-America has 1.5%; that s largely Brazil. Africa, the rest of Asia, and the Middle East have zero percent of the world s machine-tools production. We have to build up machine-tool production in these other areas, and that is a key feature of the Eurasian Land-Bridge. But now, you can realize what a disaster it is when machine-tool performance is plunging in the range of 13-41% in Japan, Germany, and the United States, which produce by themselves more than half the world s machine tools. The world is starved for machine tools. But the critical point is, that most of the population would not even appreciate what has just been proven about the devastation of the machine-tool design principle. They re focussed on the stock market, on the Internet, on McDonald s. You say to most people, What do you think of the fall of something upon which human life depends, machine tools? The reply: I don t know much about it, and I don t really care. And that s probably the biggest problem, because leaders of state, FIGURE 5 Drawing by Leonardo of a file-cutting machine DO YOU KNOW that the American Revolution was fought against British free trade economics? that Washington and Franklin championed Big Government? that the Founding Fathers promoted partnership between private industry and central government? READ The Political Economy of the American Revolution edited by Nancy Spannaus and Christopher White Order from: Ben Franklin Booksellers P.O. Box 1707 Leesburg,Va Toll-Free: $15.00 plus $4 shipping and handling We accept MasterCard, VISA, American Express and Discover. people who are running for the Presidency, do not even understand, that this is one of the most fundamental question facing the human race, at least in terms of the economic principles involved. The machine-tool design principle is an expression of the fundamental discovery in epistemology that Lyndon LaRouche made in the period , arising from his study of Bernard Riemann and Georg Cantor, as will be seen. What are machine tools? Before delving further into the machine-tool principle, let us look at what a machine tool is because most people haven t seen them, and since some of them are going the way of the dodo bird. We ll look at machine tools; then, we ll look at the higher concept of the machine-tool design principle, which is not the same thing as machine tools machine tools are a function of that higher principle. Then, we ll look at the deliberate destruction of the machine-tool industry, and finally the relation of the machine-tool principle to the Eurasian Land-Bridge. 36 Feature EIR September 24, 1999 FIGURE 6 Characteristic action of major metal-cutting machine tools FIGURE 7 A numerically controlled machine tool machining fuel tank panels A machine tool is a machine that makes other machines. The design of machine tools has been developed for hundreds of years. This sketch (Figure 5), from either the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century, is from Leonardo da Vinci s notebooks. It is a file-cutting machine. Leonardo made hundreds of sketches of every variety of machine tool, absolutely every variety you can imagine, although it is not known how many of these were made into working models; the implementation of some of his inventions would have to await the development of the heat-powered machine. The development of the machine tool, and the machinetool design principle, was greatly advanced by Lazare Carnot and Gaspard Monge at the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris in the first part of the nineteenth century. Thus, the machine-tool design represents a process of centuries of ongoing perfecting. There are two main types of machine tools: the metalcutting machine tool and the metal-forming machine tool. The distinction is based on their characteristic of action. The metal-cutting machine tool cuts metals, ceramics, or other materials; this can be cone by boring, gear-cutting, turning, grinding, and so forth. Metal-forming machine tools stamp or form a metal or other material; their operations include stamping, forging, etc. We are going to look at two varieties of the metal-cutting type. Importantly, all of these work through rotational action. In Figure 6, we see a drilling machine on the top. The drilling machine tool s rotating bit bores or enlarges holes in the material that one is being worked on; what one is working on, is usually called the work-piece material. Below that, is a turning machine, also called a lathe. In a turning machine tool, it is the work-piece that is rotated along a common center line, and the blade is brought into contact with the rotating workpiece material. In the operation of metal-cutting machine tools, the force of the instrument is normally built up or concentrated in the tool bit or blade. Dozens of parameters determine a machine tool s functioning. One important parameter is the spindle speed of the tool bit. During the nineteenth century, spindle speeds of 100 to 750 revolutions per minute (rpms) were common. Today, spindles can rotate at 8-15,000 rpms. Speeds of 30-40,000 rpms may soon be common. We have examined machine-tool blades and tool bits, and their characteristic actions; let us move upward to examine an entire machine. The picture in Figure 7 was taken 30 years ago. It shows a numerically controlled machine tool that is 270 feet (82 meters) long. It is machining, in an advanced way, the fuel tank panels for the Saturn V rocket, which is the rocket that took the Apollo 8 spacecraft on man s first voyage EIR September 24, 1999 Feature 37 to the Moon in I want to plant an idea into your head, to stimulate a mental concatenation of ideas. Scientists, such as Wernher von Braun and others, originate the concept of space travel totally in their minds, involving new physical principles. There is nothing physical that exists yet. So, the scientist conceives of a spacecraft, with specifications, and much work goes into that. But to make that spacecraft, he has to have hundreds of specially built or modified machine tools to machine the specific functions without which the spacecraft could not be built. Moreover, the engineers building the spacecraft will work with master mechanics, who have decades of experience, and will know what type of machine tool needs to be constructed to, in turn, build the spacecraft. So, the scientists, the engineers, and the master machinists, through discussions, traverse back and forth in their heads the product designs, both of the spacecraft and of the machine tools that will build the spacecraft. Then they incorporate these advanced designs into the machines. In this way, the advanced designs increase man s power over nature. Now, we ve seen a single machine tool. Some single machine tools are very powerful, such as the five-axis machine tool, which can perform multiple functions of drilling, milling, etc., and can work on a work-piece material not from only three axes, but from five axes, and as well as tilt the workpiece. As part of the advances, there are machine tools based on new physical principles, such as lasers, particle beams, and plasmas to do milling and other jobs. But now, look at Figure 8. This is a manufacturing plant, making a hull for an Army tank. The hull can be seen in the center, the round shape, floating down the center on a cushion of liquid. On either side of the hulls are many machine tools. Each one or two machines is performing a different function. This gets us to the next level. The machining work is not done by a single machine tool, but an organized series of them, dozens, or perhaps hundreds. Thus, one increases the power of the machining process, by organizing the machines into an ordered configuration. The power of the configuration is greater than the sum of the powers of the individual machines. This point is exemplified by the Mack Truck assembly and manufacturing plant in Frederick, Maryland, which can be visited. Inside, it has 1,450 machine tools. The production process is nothing other than an organized configuration of machine tools, which is how real manufacturing is done. The introduction and advancement of machine tools, especially since the introduction of the heat-powered machine, has created an increase of power and efficiency by man by as much as 100-fold. An important feature of machine tools is that they build, not just individual products, but other machines. Figure 9 shows that proceeding from creative human discovery, machine tools build construction equipment, mining equipment, oil and gas drilling equipment, etc. The construction equipment, built with machine tools, in turn, is used to build FIGURE 8 Configuration of machine tools machining a tank hull dams, bridges, water mains. So, the machine tool builds the construction equipment, which is utilized to build the dams and other edifices. By this process, physically, the machinetool design radiates out everywhere, throughout the economy. All economic mobilizations require machine tools, including the Land-Bridge. For example, the biggest bottleneck in the economic mobilization of the United States during for war production, was machine tools. Since machine tools build other machines, the United States couldn t build anything without having machine tools first. Leading his Hamiltonian-style mobilization of industry, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the construction of new machinetool plants, and their operation on 24-hour-per-day shifts. Figure 10 shows that the United States went from the production of 34,000 machine tools in 1938 to 307,000 in We can build machine tools when we decide to. The higher machine-tool design principle Considering the development and power of the machine tool, we ve moved in the direction of, but have not yet reached, the machine-tool design principle. It is to be empha- 38 Feature EIR September 24, 1999 FIGURE 9 The central role of the machine tool in the economy Human creative discovery Machine tool design Construction equipment Mining equipment Oil and gas field machinery Steam, gas, and hydraulic turbines Bridges, water mains Hospitals, schools Residential housing Metals, minerals Crystals Oil Gas Electric power Metal-cutting, metal-forming machine tools Textile machinery Woodworking machinery Food-processing machinery Paper industry and printing machinery Agriculture implement-making equipment Fabric Cothing Carpeting Furniture Milk, cheese Processed foods Wine Paper Cardboard boxes Newspapers, magazines Tractors Reapers Threshers FIGURE 10 U.S. machine-tool production surges under Roosevelt mobilization (units produced) 350, , , , , ,000 50, Source: A Study of the Machine Tool with Emphasis on the Problem of Stability, 1962 Doctoral Thesis at American University by Robert Stanley Himes. sized, again, that the machine tool, as powerful or remarkable as it is, qua machine tool, is not the machine-tool design principle. It is a function of the principle. The machine-tool design principle exists as a higher concept, which involves the creative mind, the mind s creation and improvement of the machine-tool design, its improvement of the productive labor force, and the relation of all of this to transforming the economy. Figure 11 is a graphic from Lyndon H. LaRouche s article, Return to the Machine-Tool Principle, which appeared in the Feb. 7, 1997 EIR. It is recommended that you read this in full. I could not do full justice to elaborating this valuable work, so I just want to make a few points. Start with man in the image of God. Man makes a revolutionary discovery of physical principle. It is usually individuals who care very much about mankind, who make such discoveries. This new discovery is effected at first as an hypothesis, and then as a validated solution to an otherwise perplexing paradox in existing knowledge. Mr. LaRouche has represented that, as the column splits off to the right side in Figure 11. This discovery occurs in the cognitive mind, in the same manner that it does in art and music that is, as a metaphorical idea. However, the metaphorical idea is not painted onto a canvas, or sculpted into stone. Rather, it is put into a machine. EIR September 24, 1999 Feature 39 FIGURE 11 How the Machine-Tool Principle is situated Classical Humanist Education Developed Labor Force Current Levels of Development of Individual Creative Reason Discoveries of Valid Principles Discoveries of Valid New Hypotheses Labor Force and Machine-Tool Designs Are Combined Productive Process Development Increased Productivity Increase of Potential Relative Population-Density Higher Levels of Development of Individual Creative Reason Machine Tool Designs New and Improved Product Designs Infrastructure Designs Productive Processes Increasing Capital-Intensity Increasing Power-Intensity If you want, the idea as a design concept, is painted or transferred to the machine. So, we have man generating a succession of revolutionary scientific discoveries, which generates a succession of machine-tool designs. These designs are incorporated into a succession of machines, each with greater efficiency. So, the machine-tool design principle is not a single machine, nor is it a single machine-tool design; rather, it s an ordering process, starting with scientific discoveries, of a succession of machin
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