The first customer delivery of an IBM System/7 was made on September 16, 1971, to American Motors Corporation (AMC) at Kenosha, Wisc. The delivery was made two months ahead of schedule from the IBM General Systems Division plant in Boca Raton, Fla.
The System/7, which was to be reinstalled at AMC’s Toledo Jeep Plant the following month, was to become the keystone of the company’s Manufacturing Division exhaust emission control program. A second IBM System/7 was to be installed in Kinosha later in 1971. Both computers would be linked to sensing instruments that tested the performance of the emission control system of vehicles picked at random as they came off the production line.
The auto manufacturer planned to test 12 Jeeps a day in Toledo, and 37 cars on two shifts at Kenosha. In addition to using the System/7 to measure vehicle emissions, American Motors was considering using the small computer for other applications.
AMC’s director of information systems said at the time: "The System/7 has great flexibility and we think it will be the key to meeting our quality control targets. System/7 is going to do a lot of things for us that we weren’t able to do before. With its flexibility and many uses, I think it’s just the right tool for more sophisticated plant automation."
Before receiving the System/7 in September, AMC’s data processing staff in Kenosha tested its programming on another System/7 at IBM’s Field Systems Center in Chicago.
Jim Richmann of the Milwaukee IBM Manufacturing branch office --the IBM Data Processing Division’s marketing representative on the account -- said the System/7 “was installed without a hitch,” and was operating less than 24 hours after delivery. “The customer is more pleased by the minute,” said Richmann. "As far as American Motors is concerned, System/7 is leading the way in the sensor-based computer area."