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Bill Jack, English Electric Engineer (team leader) Ravenscraig LEO III, Recollection

The Leo III was acquired by the Colvilles Group Engineering Department on behalf of the Ravenscraig Works. They had already installed the KDN2 on the Slab Mill.  I was a young engineer in the department and was  sent to Kidsgrove to learn about the KDN2. When the Leo III arrived I was put in charge of the implementation team because I knew about computers!  The LEO III was applied to production control/tracking throughout the steelworks complex and also to the production of the weekly payroll for 4,000 employees. 

The LEO III continued in both roles from 1965 till around 1972 when it was replaced by an IBM 360.
The most interesting feature of the installation was the extensive use made of Lector documents to record information directly from the operatives at the various processing points throughout the plant. These documents were collected at the end of each shift and processed in time for the production meetings at 9.00am the following morning.

You do correctly identify the tussle between the Finance and Engineering Directorates but this was resolved by the Finance Director purchasing an ICL 1900, installing it in another of Colvilles  steelworks at Clydebridge and proceeding independently. This did not impinge upon the installation at Ravenscraig.

Date : 2021

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH64205. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.

Bill Jack,  English Electric Engineer (team leader) Ravenscraig LEO III, Recollection

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