International Engineering Congress (1901 : Glasgow.

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been reduced, unless there has been a radical change in the method
of doing a piece of work. As a rule, the premiums earned by the
men have increased since the introduction of this system, sometimes
due to the industry, skill, or intelligence exerted by the workman.
but oftener due to those exercising a controlling power. The value
of this premium system is not limited to a saving in cost of labour
by the reduction of the time taken to do work. Numerous instances
might be cited where the system has been the means of bringing
to notice, through concentration of attention on its development,
improved methods of manufacture.

Another feature to which special attention is directed is the use
of the job progress card. This card is prepared every morning by
the Rate-fixing Department, and indicates the progress which has
been made at the various machines ; and it may be made of great
value to employers and managers. The first column gives the
machine numbers, the second column the hours allowed for the jobs
in hand, the third column the number of pieces included in each job,
the fourth column the hours spent upon the job in hand till 10.30
a.m. on the date the card is prepared, and the fifth column the
previous records for similar jobs. The card is therefore an index
of the progress of work in each and all machines in operation.

There is a job register book for the machine, brass-finishing,
tinsmiths', and smiths' departments, erecting in the works, and fitting
on board the machinery in the yard and at the quay. As new
jobs occur they are duly registered. Every separate job in the
manufacture of a marine engine, from the time the castings and
forgings come into the works until the ship leaves after her trial
trip, is registered in this book.

The job data book is a record of the work done on each article,
and this book now contains a most complete and miscellaneous
collection of data in connection with the manufacture of marine
engines, and of other work. All whitewashing and painting, shifting
of machines, laying down concrete floors, shifting of material from
place to place, and many otner operations for which, not so long
ago, it would have been impossible to fix a time, are now recorded
in the job data book.

This system is by no means a final solution of the piecework
problem, but it is submitted that this system is a step towards a
solution. The value of good and powerful tools is forcibly brought
forward ; the use of jigs, gauges, etc., is found to be necessary, and
old machines are placed at their true value. Meetings with managers
and foremen for the discussion of questions arising in the course of
manufacture are found to be necessary, and of great value. Better
wages are earned by workmen, and more work and better work is
got out of the machines. With this knowledge before us we do
not hesitate to say that the introduction of a premium system such


as described would have an elevating influence upon any workshop
where the hourly rate of pay or the ordinary piecework is in use.

From the system above described, three advantages follow. No
matter how long a man takes to do the work, whether from novelty,
misfortune, misadventure, hanging over his work, or carelessness,
he receives his hourly rate of wages. If a man is repeating the
same job on the same machine and continually reducing the time
of production, he is encouraged, as by all means he should be, to
continue doing so. If the time allowance has been fairly fixed at
the beginning, the more a man earns the cheaper is the work; in
other words, the element of participation is introduced.

The paper is accompanied by specimens of Job Tickets, and
pages of Job Registers and Job Data Books.

The Discussion on this paper was taken with that on the papers
by Mr. William Thomson, and by Messrs. Weir and Richmond (see
p. 123).

The author replied, and on the motion of the Chairman a vote of
thanks was accorded to him.




THE most desultory reader of our technical journals cannot fail to
be struck with the great and increasing interest which has of late
years been taken in the internal economy of our engineering
workshops. The object of the following remarks is to draw
special attention to certain factors affecting this which have hitherto
not received the consideration which their importance warrants.
The points particularly referred to are :

(1) A premium system of labour remuneration.

(2) Good, accurate, and powerful tools.

(3) Arrangement of tools and roomy shops

(4) Standardisation.

The Premium System. The first and greatest of all these
influences is the introduction of the Premium System, which effects
nothing short of a complete revolution in a shop. One of the
primary results of this system is the establishment of accurate data
upon which comparisons are based and deductions made. The
annexed Table I., columns i and 2, gives a few examples of what
the premium system has aone in the way of economising time.

Accurate and Powerful Tools. Another most important factor in
the economical production of work is good, powerful, and, very
especially, accurate machine tools. The experience of the author's
firm in this direction has been one of considerable extent. Old
tools have been sold or otherwise disposed of, and new and more
powerful machinery substituted. A few examples of th<j results of
this substitution are given in Table I., by comparing columns 2
and 3.

A certain tool made by a first class firm was purchased by the
writer's firm three years ago, and after repeated trials it was con-
cluded that it had not adequate belt power, so when a second
machine was ordered, an increase in the ratio of gearing of about
28' to 30 per cent, was insisted upon, much against the will of the
toolmakers, who considered that the first machine was amply
powerful. The result is that the newer machine turns out the
same work as the old in 26.5 per cent, less time.



Same Machines throughout.


(2) (3)


Description of

Time taken on

Time taken in


Time taken



Record time

under old

of Premium

with greater

for the

Time System.



same job.





I. Turning conn.





rod. I off.

2. Slotting conn.





rods. 3 oft.

3. Crank webs





f finishing holes.

I Off).

\ New and more powerful

Old Machines under Machines (on Premium


Old Time

Premium First time on


System. ! new Machine Re c rd Time.


hours. hours. hours.

4. Turning tunnel


29l 23^ 21

shafting. I off.

5. Turning ecc.


i i* 9 8i

rods, i off.

6. Turning thrust

I2 9 97i 75 65

shaft, i off.

7. Finish turning

42 34 15


crank shaft. I


8. Turning quad.


140 9 i|

blocks. 13 off.

9. Slotting sole-


59i 44


plates, i off.

10. Slotting con-


56 44


denser i off.

u. Slotting H.P.


33f 24


cylinder, i off.

12. Ripping out


17 9


holes in crank

webs (i web).

2 holes.

14. Hole - boring

45 37 27i


main bearing

covers for bolts.


12 holes.

1 5. Planing six steel

142^ 102

6 5 i

slabs for 1 2 crank




Arrangement of Tools and Roomy Shops. The questions of
arrangement of tools and roomy shops are closely connected and
interdependent, and where these have to be applied to existing
buildings they become very difficult ones to settle, and in most
cases the result cannot be anything more than a compromise.
The question of handling of material, which is the direct result of
the arrangement of tools, is one which has not received the atten-
tion it deserves, simply on account of the difficulty of getting at
the direct loss caused by a poor arrangement. As an example
of what can be done by the consideration of these questions, it
might be mentioned that after the author's firm laid down their new
boiler shop, the work turned out by the light and heavy plating
squads was done in 19.6 per cent, less time in the new shops than
it had averaged in the old, while the machines turned out their
work in 10 per cent, less time than before; the conditions in both
cases as regards tools and appliances being exactly the same, except
that more room was allowed.

Another example taken from the machine shop illustrates this
same point very well. A group of three machines was located in
the old machine shop in somewhat cramped and inconvenient
positions, but afterwards these machines were shifted to a new
machine shop and given lots of room. The results of this new
arrangement are given below in the annexed table :



increased by



pe cent.

per cent.

pet cent.

Double - headed Horizontal

Borer -

3 '9

2 '5


H. and V. Planer




Connecting-rod Lathe




In this comparison the conditions were as nearly as possible the
same in both cases, the machines doing the same kind of work;
the same men were at the machines, and were working under the
premium system in the new shop as in the old. The result was
that the men made on an average which is taken over a long
period in both cases 9.3 per cent, more wages; the work was 8.3
per cent, cheaper to the firm, and 15.9 per cent, more work was
got out of the same machines, due entirely to a better arrangement
and more roomy location of these machines.


Standardisation. The premium system, with its attendant
records, very soon showed up the benefits of having duplicate work,
as the saving of time was quite considerable where a run of dupli-
cate or nearly similar pieces was given to a machinist. This was
so marked that the question of standardising, not only the details,
but the whole engine, was gone into in order to get the full benefit
of this, and as patterns began to require renewal the engine was
redesigned with this end in view. In carrying out this idea in a
new design it was found necessary, not only to consider the engine
and its details in relation to themselves alone, but also with special
regard to their position in the range of sizes which it was decided
to make with a view of keeping down the number of different sizes
of details. This practically meant redesigning simultaneously all
the sizes of engines made, but a careful analysis and consideration
of the requirements to be met, enabled the whole range to be
suitably broken up into well-defined groups, each group represent-
ing a certain size of main centres, and permitting certain variations
of cylinder diameter and stroke within well-defined limits, and
suitable for the usual steam pressures. The details, which in each
group are never altered, although the cylinders may vary within the
group limits, are in very many cases common to several groups, and
a large number common to the whole range. This object is always
kept in view, in order to provide as much duplicate work as possible.
Especially is this so in the case of the very small details, because
in these the governing factor in the cost is the wages, not the
material a slight and unimportant variation in size causing a
relatively large variation in wages cost; while in the larger details
the conditions are reversed, and the material becomes the important
cost factor, a relatively small variation in wages covering a very
large variation in size.

When, however, duplication of pieces can no longer be carried
out on account of the loss of material prohibiting it, much can be
done in the way of duplicating similar machined, faced, etc. parts,
in different groups. This enables and encourages the use of jigs,
which, under other conditions, would not have been warranted by
the saving in wages. When even this cannot be done, standardisa-
tion by a graded series of similar pieces does much to make the
progress of the work through the drawing office and the shops easy
and free from the friction and delay incidental to sudden and abrupt
changes in design. In the drawing office it has the effect of
crystallising that vague thing known as " our practice," and compels it
to carry out its work on well-defined lines, thus avoiding expensive
and irritating changes and mistakes or oversight.

In the shops, standardisation by its consistency in design
familiarises the staff and men with the practice, and enables them to
go about each new job with confidence and expedition, knowing


that each job as it comes forward, if not a duplicate, will at least
be similar, all of which go far to speed up the progress of work
through the shop, and thus increase the output. And, above all,
by the very fact that the means to effect this calls for the best
facilities and most exact workmanship, the result is, that the
character of the workmanship is raised besides being cheapened,
with satisfactory results to both consumer and manufacturer.

The Discussion on this paper was taken with that on the papers
by Mr. James Rowan, and by Messrs. Weir and Richmond (see
p. 123).

The author replied, and on the motion of the Chairman a vote of
thanks was accorded to him.




So many papers have been written, and so much literature now
exists on the equipment and organisation of engineering works, that
a brief consideration of some less frequently treated factors in
promoting efficiency in the shops may be of interest and possibly
of value.

No claim to novelty is made on behalf of these schemes, as
several of them are of trans- Atlantic origin, but their success when
transplanted to this side shows that much can be done to interest
the men and the staff in their work.

The schemes to be described have now been in operation for
some time, so that a fair idea can be given of their working results ;
but the descriptions of the various efficiency factors following are
not intended to be exhaustive.

i. Premium System of Remunerating Labour. In an engineering
works which for many years has worked only with time wages,
the relative wages do not represent the relative values of the
men. To remedy this state of affairs it was decided, after con-
sidering all the best-known systems of remuneration, to adopt the
premium system, for the following reasons :

(1) The system was simple and easily understood by the men,
their extra remuneration being easily calculated by themselves.

(2) The system was comparatively simple in its application, and
did not involve a very large additional staff.

(3) It had not the defect of piece-work, that an error in rate
fixing is either expensive or discouraging.

(4) It offered a real inducement to the workman to suggest
improvements in his machine or tools.

(5) The system in its application gives accurate data for time-
keeping and cost-keeping purposes.

After more than three years' experience of the working of the
system we have found the following to be among the many advan-
tages gained by its application :

(1) It has resulted in a largely increased output from our
machines for the same labour cost.

(2) An increase in our workmen's average drawings of from 10
to 40 per cent.



(3) In the practically compulsory maintenance of our machines
in the highest state of efficiency.

(4) In a greatly increased interest of the men in their work,
machines, and equipment, and a fair amount of co-operation in all
our schemes for improving our factory.

(5) It has given our foremen a field for the choice of men we
never had previously, resulting in the employment of only the best
class of steady workmen.

(6) It has caused our foremen to be no longer merely task-
masters over the men, but to become more providers of work for
them, and inspectors of that work.

2. The Friction Club. To secure a proper discussion on shop
problems, and to provide machinery for the systematic carrying out
of suggestions and reporting of results, it was decided to inaugurate
at our works a club composed not only of foremen, but of all the
administrative heads of departments, drawing office, costing depart-
ment, correspondence department, etc.

When the club was at first proposed its reception was not at all
favourable ; it was considered by the foremen that reflections would
be made by one foreman on the work of another, and that generally
it would give rise to internal friction. It was accordingly named
the " Friction Club," on the principle that its mission was to be the
elimination of friction.

Among the matters dealt with by the club have been the follow-
ing: The establishment of a works library; the workmen's sug-
gestion scheme; the admittance and course of apprentices in the
works ; the lighting of the shops ; the distribution of shop labourers ;
shop hindrances a report by each foreman on his department,,
indicating the hindrances interfering with the execution or output
of the work of his department ; grind stones versus emery wheels ;
wearing of overalls by the men, etc.

3. The Workmen's Suggestion Scheme. Closely allied with the
Friction Club is another efficiency factor which has recently been
inaugurated in our works, namely, the Workmen's Suggestion
Scheme. Encouraged by the success of the first few meetings of
the Friction Club, it seemed a logical sequence that suggestions for
improvement and reforms should be asked from the workmen
themselves. Accordingly a scheme was promoted and discussed
by the Friction Club, its purpose being to encourage the workmen
to make suggestions for improvements in the shops, and on the work
generally. All suggestions are signed with the workman's name
and shop number, and are placed by the author in a box provided
in the gate-house. The judgment and discussion on the sugges-
tions is conducted at the Friction Club, and also the allocation of
the awards, the amount being given according to their decision in*
one or more sums according to the merits of the suggestions.


During five months the total amount of suggestions received
amounts to 60 ; and of this total the number of suggestions adopted
and carried out amounts to about 20 per cent, of those received.
The discussion on these suggestions has been most educative, and
has resulted in several most excellent shop devices.

4. The Technical Committee. It will be noted that the Work-
men's Suggestion Scheme does not include in its scope suggestions
for improvement on the designs of the firm's product. Accordingly
the function of dealing with designs, etc., lies with a committee
comprising the managing director, shop manager, chief draughts-
man, and draughtsman on special design. This body is called the
Technical Committee, and it deals with the revisal of the designs
of the firm's product, the carrying out of experimental work, the
tabulation of results, the systematic consideration of complaints and
defects, and the criticism and development of new designs.

5. The Intelligence Department. The Intelligence Department
deals with the collection of information and data required by the
various departments and members of the firm; the indexing,
catalogueing, and filing of technical literature, catalogues, cuttings,
etc. It secures a systematic perusal of contract advertisements in
the technical papers, marks and records openings for the firm's
products, and keeps a card index of parties interested or likely to
be interested in them.

These brief notes on a few shop schemes are submitted as
showing developments in dealing with the minutiae of an engineering
establishment. Their value has been found to consist in providing
a medium through which the intelligence and ability of the indi-
vidual foremen and men are directly ascertainable, and in providing
the machinery by which ideas and suggestions are methodically
dealt with, followed up, and exhausted, before adoption or rejection.

They have also had the effect of bringing the men and their
employers into more direct personal relations, and of creating a
certain esprit de corps in the shops, the value of which, although
not tangible, is nevertheless of a real and gratifying nature.

The Discussion was combined with that on the two previous
papers by Mr. Rowan and by Mr. Thomson, and was taken part in
by the following members: The Chairman. Mr. George Livesey,
Mr. Wigham Richardson, Mr. Arthur Greenwood. Mr. W. H. Allen,
Mr. Alfred Saxon, Mr. Hans Renold, Mr. T. Hum- Riches, and
Mr. Wicksteed.

Mr. Rowan, Mr. Thomson, and Mr. J. R. Richmond replied.

On the motion of the Chairman a vote of thanks was accorded
to the authors.

A written communication was received from Mr. Philip Bright.




WITH the object of obtaining an expression of opinion of those
connected with the mechanical engineering trades assembled in
Congress at Glasgow, the author ventured to express his views as
to whether the time has not now arrived that some steps should be
taken towards the adoption in our workshops, in a more or less
complete form, of the metrical system of weights and measurements.
In the first place it will be expedient to consider what advantage
would accrue to the mechanical engineering trade of this country by
the adoption of the metrical system. If the engineers of this
country were to devote themselves simply to the manufacture of
engines and machinery required in its own workshops and factories,
neither selling nor desiring to sell anything outside the Empire,
there would be no reason why they should not continue to muddle
on with feet, inches, and hundredweights for all time. It would
be our own affair to continue, if we thought fit, a system which has
been condemned by most nations of the earth. But it may be
assumed that the British mechanical engineer has no desire to be
content with any such position. He is determined to continue the
efforts he has made to push his manufactures in every market in
the world. He has to meet competitors in the countries of Europe
and elsewhere where the metric system is universal. Germany
has followed the lead of the Latin countries, and has abolished
her many standards of feet, and Austria has done the same. Russia
continued to honour us for years by using our standards, and still
does so to some extent, but in Russia before very long the metric
system will be as general as it is in Germany. If the British
mechanical engineer is to hold his own in these markets, it is
imperative that he should offer goods to conform to their usages,
in dimensions and weights. The writer would appeal to those of
his engineering colleagues who have doubtless found themselves
in the same desperate position he has found himself, provided with
a drawing of an elaborate machine carefully scaled to an inch or an
inch and a half to a foot, and with probably a very imperfect
knowledge of the language of the country with which he desires to


transact business, and endeavouring to answer the numerous
questions of an inquisitive and intellectual foreigner who wants to
know the dimensions in millimetres and weight in kilograms of
particular parts of the machine. Under such circumstances the
wonder is that orders could be obtained at all. True, experience
has taught many engaged in Continental trade to have plans drawn
to tenth scale, thus somewhat mitigating the difficulty here alluded

The writer could quote numerous cases of orders from France,
Germany, Russia, Japan, and South America, that might have come
to England, but for the reason that the purchasers preferred buying
machinery which admittedly was not so good or so suited to their
requirements, but which conformed to their metric system.

The one serious objection is the cost and trouble of making the
change, but this is a difficulty that can be overcome if time is
taken to bring about the change. Our legislators so long ago as

Online LibraryInternational Engineering Congress (1901 : GlasgowReport of the proceedings and abstracts of the papers read → online text (page 11 of 37)