Control Data Australia Memories compiled by Brian Membrey

Manufacturing : Expansion

The Wangara Road facility was soon outgrown and a move was made to in November, 1971 to a 13,000-square foot building with second-floor offices at 147-149 Herald Street, also in Cheltenham.

The reasons for this are not totally clear, unless there was a miscalculation of the capacity required in the first place - the only unit under production was still the single-unit RIOT, although it is possible that the growing space required for the spare parts inventory placed pressure on the assembly line.

After another twelve months or so, the Herald Street factory also proved too small, and with no location in the Cheltenham-Moorabbin large enough to house the full manufacturing operation, three additional locations were used for a sheet-metal shop and other "non-core" activities that could not be accommodated at Herald Street.

June, 1972 saw the delivery of the 500th RIOT, TABLOID, the TAB's staff newsletter (although messing up the date of the first delivery) suggesting that by the end of that month, some 516 RIOTs would be operating across 118 agencies and branches.

December, 1972 saw the culmination of a pro-active local initiative with a demonstration to the Victorian TAB of a "Dual-RIOT", a new concept using largely existing components but with different interfaces to enable two selling points (keyboards) to share a common electronics controller and printer, the two most expensive components of a RIOT installation.

There was nothing that appeared following the article to indicate whether the experimental design was immediately successful (the official response from the TAB's Maurie Henderson, Manager of Data Processing" was decidedly non-committal … "it was very interesting, but before any recommendations can be made by TAB, we will have to carry out exhaustive tests to prove its true capabilities." but when the NZ TAB installation began in 1973, the ‘dual” concept was the standard.  

(Later when CRISP was announced, it was suggested that 130 Dual-RIOTS had been delivered to the Victorian TAB over and above the original 1,000 standard single keyboard RIOTS.  The Dual systems were mostly installed in country outlets where installation of two single RIOTs was not financially viable).

The "dual" concept was eminently sensible.  Several references place the cost of a single RIOT at about $4,000 – I'm only guessing, but probably $3,000 of that was for the controller and ticket printer, both of which were idle for most of the time while the selling clerk keyed in the bets.  The controller probably required an additional circuit board to interface with the second keyboard; the printer ditto some sort of mechanism to issue tickets to the clerks to the left and right of the central units.

July, 1973, spot on schedule, the order was completed, the final RIOT  and one-thousandth RIOT was formally handed to the Acting General Manager of TAB, Mr. Bart Godwin, by CDA's Regional Manager, Marketing, Mr. Peter MacGregor.


Again, the question arises as to whether Herald Street replaced, or just supplemented Wangara Road - the latter seems most likely given the additional space offered by Herald Street was only 1,000 square feet (although it is by no means certain whether this figure included the upstairs offices.

 

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