The control rooms are a workplace inside a factory where operators and supervisors can manage industry internal units to guarantee communication efficiency and a customized work environment. Has globalization, meccanization and dematerialization changed the control rooms?

32. Worker operating. Electro-Cerâmica Company was dedicated to the manufacture of electrotechnical ceramics. 1947-1997. Teófilo Rego Archive, Casa da Imagem – Manuel Leão Foundation, Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal.


Exploded views are visual strategies to represent the interconnection between technical entities that compose a machine or product, revealing its details, fittings and composition principles to constitute a functioning whole.
Which new technologies, media and software emerged to represent and understand the different parts of an assembly. How did they change our perception of products?
Instruction manuals are essential to the functioning of the world of labour. Each piece has its function in the “industrial puzzle”. If the instructions were followed backwards: can you imagine what would happen?

33. Period of State Socialism, 1944-1989. Interactive Museum of Industry, Gabrovo, Bulgaria.

Networks are composed of intersections and links. Intersections are responsible for the union of different information channels. Links establish the communication between intersections. These links can transport information or energy and their use arises from the need to connect a source to a destination – as an example:

  • raw materials to factories, or products to distributors. Connecting the distances and establishing articulations between different points and elements are the great challenges of networks.

Networks are invisible when they operate but are prone to entropy. To ensure the reliability of a transmission (energy, information, etc.) it is necessary to overcome external interference and errors. For example: when a factory creates a network to transport steam to feed its machines, it is necessary to ensure that the thermal exchanges between the pipes and the atmosphere are reduced: insulating material keeps the network isolated and fully operating its internal logics.

Networks are composed of different elements, cables, satelites, power plants, press buttons, etc. The connections are established by different media, such as guided media – optical or electrical signals – and/or non-guided media – radio waves or wi-fi communications – and the combination of both. Guided media are wires, such as electrical, phone, or water pipes. Unguided means non-tangible: satellites, antennas. Networks are therefore hybrid agglomerations of information, technology and physical infrastructure.

A network´s capacity is physical and can be enhanced, or augmented. In the case of a power network, for a factory to get more power to run its electrical equipment, it needs copper conductors with a larger cross section. In the case of an information transport network, the capacity can enhance quality or generate entropy. For example, when a company sends images between 2 computers in 2 different factories in different continents, it is possible to compress repeated information (e.g. white spaces), improving the efficiency of communication in one connection.