Emilio Segrè Visual Archives

More than 30,000 photos of scientists and their work

General Electric F24

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General Electric F24

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$20.00
Image title: 
Unidentified personnel giving a "physical exam" to a compressor coming off the assembly line
Credit line: 
General Electric Research and Development Center, courtesy AIP Emilio Segrè Visual Archives, Physics Today Collection
Description: 

As compressors (the key component of air conditioners) come off the assembly lines at General Electric's room air conditioner plant in Louisville, Ky., they have to pass a stringent "physical exam" administered by an electronic "physician." The automated inspection system - invented at the GE Research and Development Center in Schenectady, N.Y. and fine-tuned for the factory floor with the assistance of the plant's engineers - consists of a super-sensitive "stethoscope" connected to a powerful minicomputer. Just as a doctor listens to a patient's heartbeat, the acoustic sensor picks up the otherwise inaudible whirrs, squeals, and clicks made by the compressor as its shaft is unp briefly. The minicompter, located elsewhere in the factory, quickly compares these sounds with the acoustic "fingerprint" of a "good" compressor stored in its memory and decides if they match. If they don't, a display lights up to tell an operator that the unit should be lifted off the line. The complete "physical", which involves millions of mathematical calculations, takes just six seconds.

Man in the photo is unidentified. 

Photo date: 
August 9, 1983
Original format: 
1 photographic print (black and white; 9.5 x 7.5 inches)
Person(s): 
General Electric Research Laboratory