by December 6, 2001 0 comments



The AS/400 from IBM is a legend in itself. There is no CIO, old or young, who will not get a glitter in the eye when you mention the AS/400. The reasons are not hard to find. First introduced in 1988, it was perhaps the longest running brand of minicomputers, probably the longest selling brand amongst all computers, till IBM renamed it as the
iSeries last year. 

The AS/400 (iSeries) is a series of models, each known by a different number. Pricing starts at about Rs 700,000 and goes all the way up to a million dollars and more. Unlike with standard PCs or PC servers, this is not a machine you pick up off the shelf. Each basic machine is customized as per customer order at the plant before shipping. There are four steps to the manufacturing: creating the basic machine, customizing it to customer order, testing, packaging and transportation.

Here we will take a quick look at how an AS/400 is prepared for shipping. Models sold in India are shipped from a plant in Dublin, while the plant shown here is at Rochester, USA. Barring the location, the mechanics and the equipment at the two plants are the same.

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The process starts here. Empty frames are ready to take the other parts. The basic machine is built up with common parts

A worker adds the card cage that the adapters will be fitted into

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The power supply goes in

The basic machine is now ready. The next stage is to add the specific requirements of each customer order

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Specific hardware ordered by the customer is called up on the worker’s display, and are fitted accordingly6. Details of each installed component is scanned in for checking against the order

Details of each installed component is scanned in for checking against the order

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Customized machine ready for testing

Each machine goes through a10 hour test. Notice the PCs on the top of the rack. They are all tied together into the automated manufacturing network and cycle the machine through its tests

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Ready for the customer

Krishna Kumar

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