The computers had done a dramatic impact on the development of production automation technologies. Nearly all modern production systems are implemented today using computer systems. The term computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) has been coined to denote the pervasive use of computers to design the products, plan the production, control the operations, and perform the various business related functions needed in a manufacturing firm. Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAD/CAM) in another term that is used synonymously with CIM.
The good relationship exists between automation and CIM with a conceptual model of manufacturing. In a manufacturing firm, the physical activities related to production that take place in the factory can be distinguished from the information-processing activities. The physical activities include all of the manufacturing processing, assembly, materials handling and inspections that are performed on the product. These operations come in direct contact with the physical activities during manufacture. Raw materials flow in one end of the factory and finished products flow out the other end. The physical activities (processing, handling, etc.) take place inside the factory. The information-processing functions form a ring that surrounds the factory, providing the data and knowledge required to produce the product successfully. These information processing functions include:
These four functions form a cycle of events that must accompany the physical production activities
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