Computer-Integrated Manufacturing
Learning Goals
After reading this supplement, you will be able to . . .
1. describe several types of technologies that comprise computer-integrated manufacturing. 2. discuss the advantages of these different technologies.

often writes about the of future: a fully autoT he popular pressmanufactures a factories dofactoryandthewithout human intermated factory that wide variety of products vention. Although some “peopleless” exist others will be built, the major advances being made today occur in manufacturing operations where computers are being integrated into the process to help workers create high-quality products. Computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) is an umbrella term for the total integration of product design and engineering, process planning, and manufacturing by means of complex computer systems. Less comprehensive computerized systems for production planning, inventory control, or scheduling are often considered part of CIM. By using these powerful computer systems to integrate all phases of manufacturing, from initial customer order to final shipment, firms hope to increase productivity, improve quality, meet customer needs faster, and offer more flexibility. For example, McDonnell Douglas spent $10 million to introduce CIM in its Florida factory. The computer systems automatically schedule manufacturing tasks, keep track of labor, and send instructions to computer screens at workstations along the assembly line. Eliminating paperwork led to an increase of 30 percent in worker productivity. Less than 1 percent of U.S. manufacturing companies have approached full-scale use of CIM, but more than 40 percent are using one or more elements of CIM technology. A recent study asked managers how much their companies invest in several of the technologies that comprise CIM (Boyer, Ward, and Leong, 1996). The study focused on firms in the metal-working industry (i.e., primary metal, fabricated metal, machinery, electronic equipment, and transportation equipment), in which the use of CIM is believed to be most widespread. The study measured investment on a 7-point scale (1 no investment and 7 heavy investment). Computer-aided design received the highest average score (5.2), followed by numerically controlled machines (4.8), computer-aided manufacturing (4.0), flexible manufacturing systems (2.5),

manufacturing engineers and other users can quickly obtain printouts of plans and specifications for a part or product. we describe these tools and their potential benefits. CAM systems are used to design production processes and to control machine tools and materials flow through programmable automation. The largest sums are going for software. CAD/CAM systems are being used extensively in the industry to produce customized clothing. The heart of CAD is a powerful desktop computer and graphics software that allow a designer to manipulate geometric shapes. COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) The total integration of product design and engineering. Computer-aided design saves time by enabling designers to access and modify old designs quickly. For example. This information is useful in creating families of parts to be manufactured by the same group of machines. retrieve. The component of CIM that deals directly with manufacturing operations is called computer-aided manufacturing (CAM). computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) The component of CIM that deals directly with manufacturing operations. and classify data about various parts. but it is just one set of tools that helps many manufacturing firms. replacing drafting traditionally done by hand. Another study across all industries found company expectations for future investments to have the same rank ordering of CIM components (Kim and Miller.2 sUPPLEMENT k . and manufacturing by means of complex computer systems. Using the design data stored in the computer’s memory. Computer-Integrated Manufacturing automated materials handling (2.1). and investments in it are growing rapidly. rather than start from scratch. Computer-aided design (CAD) is an electronic system for designing new parts or products or altering existing ones.K. with Pro-Engineer clearly approaching a national standard in the United States. Many company budgets for CAD are three times what they were in 1990. replacing drafting traditionally done by hand. remain competitive in the global marketplace. Analysts can use CAD to store. CAD literacy is now a prerequisite for designers. and robots (2. It is revolutionizing in-house design departments. CIM is an important aspect of technology in manufacturing. 1990). . from IBM to Rubbermaid and AT&T to Steelcase.3). researchers at the Technology/Clothing Technology Corporation are developing a concept to enable clothing manufacturers to create “custom” A computer artist demonstrates the functions of a Hong Kong – developed computer-aided design and manufacturing system specifically designed for the textile and apparel industry. computer-aided design (CAD) An electronic system for designing new parts or products or altering existing ones. even those with high wages. The designer can create drawings and view them from any angle on a display monitor. Thus. In the following sections. process planning. The computer can also simulate the reaction of a part to strength and stress tests. CAD cuts the cost of product development and sharply reduces the time to market for new products.

and its customers are willing to pay a premium. or mill many different parts in various sizes and shapes. with . and eliminates duplication between engineering and manufacturing. Boeing’s engineers used Dassault Systemes’ software called CATIA.3 clothing. Another example is the K2 Corporation. This French company is one of the most prominent of dozens of software suppliers. computer-controlled machines programmed to perform various tasks. more than half of which went for CNC machines. NC machines medium-sized batches of intricate parts.S. bore. It also has the advantage of fostering customization and speedy delivery as competitive priorities. Currently. short for Computer Assisted Three-Dimensional Interactive Analysis. Computerized numerically controlled (CNC) machines are usually stand-alone pieces of equipment. For example. although more cumbersome. labor costs account for only 11 percent of the cost of the garment delivered to the customer. Early models received their instructions from a punched tape or card. The concept involves using a computer scan of a customer’s body and a computer-driven machine to cut the fabric to fit the customer perfectly. the largest U. The first physical version was the actual plane that test pilots flew in 1994. Japanese industry has spent twice as much money as North American or European industry on factory equipment. The first industrial robot joined the GM production line in 1961. Most are stationary and mounted on the floor. turn. computerized numerically controlled (CNC) machines Stand-alone pieces of equipment. These “steel-collar” workers operate independently of human control. less error prone than humans. It produces about 20 different models in 12 different lengths. However. NC machines are the most commonly used form of flexible (programmable) medium-sized batches of intricate parts. manufacturer of Alpine skis. NC and CNC machines rank just after CAD in terms of the most popular CIM technologies. CAD/CAM systems allow engineers to see how the various parts of a design interact with each other without having to build a prototype.Industrial Robots K. The technology was developed in the early 1950s at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to find more efficient methods of manufacturing jet aircraft for the U. each controlled by its own microcomputer. Numerically controlled (NC) machines are large machine tools programmed to produce small. each controlled by its own microcomputer. CAD/CAM is quicker. which is the cost category that this technology can reduce. Following a preprogrammed sequence of instructions. computer-controlled machines programmed to perform various tasks. Industrial robots are versatile. Levi Strauss is already using similar. which must continually redesign its products to meet changing customer needs. Nonvalue-added handling (including inventory costs) after manufacture accounts for 27 percent. Its CAD and CAM workstations allow designers to convert the numerical descriptions for a new ski shape into drawings and tooling designs and to create machining instructions that can be used directly by the milling machines. NUMERICALLY CONTROLLED MACHINES numerically controlled (NC) machines Large machine tools programmed to produce small. technology for women’s jeans. Automated custom clothing goes against established apparel industry procedures. A CAD/CAM system integrates the design and manufacturing function by translating final design specifications into detailed machine instructions for manufacturing an item. INDUSTRIAL ROBOTS industrial robots Versatile. Since the early 1980s.S. One of the more recent and stunning examples is the ability of Boeing to design and build its 777 widebody airframe without any prototype work at all. whereby companies cut dozens of layers of cloth at the same time to hold down labor costs. Robots are more glamorous than NC workhorses. Air Force.

The robot’s “hand. Chris. and process the silicon wafers several times as part of the total process. precision work is ideally suited to robots. mix chemicals in laboratories. The hand (not shown) can be changed to perform different tasks. assembly. and inspection and testing. including materials handling. Computer-Integrated Manufacturing FIGURE K.” sometimes called an end effector or tool.” OMA Monograph 1 (September 1986). spray painting. Figure K. For example. pick fruit from trees. spot welding. “Managing New Manufacturing Technologies.1 shows the six standard movements of a robot’s arm. A robotic arm is processing silicon wafers to be used for computer memory. Elbow extension Yaw Shoulder swivel Roll Pitch Arm sweep an arm that can reach into difficult locations. Such repetitive. Second-generation robots equipped with sensors that simulate touch and sight have spawned new applications. actually does the work. and handle radioactive materials.K. dunk. robots can wash windows. Not all robots have every movement. The robot has been programmed to coat.4 sUPPLEMENT k . Reprinted by permission. . They can perform a great variety of tasks tirelessly around the clock for maximum utilization.1 Robot and Its Standard Movements Source: Voss.

assembly stations. One possible reason is that U. preparing the worksite. However.000 robots in North America. industry to robots has fallen short of expectations: Less than 30 percent of manufacturers have even moderate experience with robots. but the newest generation follows optical paths and can go anywhere with aisle space and a relatively smooth floor. following instructions from either an onboard or a central computer. Furthermore. following instructions from either an onboard or a central computer. the last big U. AGVs automated guided vehicle (AGV) A small.Automated Materials Handling K.S. When the process experiences low volumes and must provide a high degree of customization. or lift trucks. Robotics is but one of many possible technologies that can be used to gain a competitive advantage. and retraining and relocating workers. robot maker.000-foot guidepath at 1. AUTOMATED MATERIALS HANDLING materials handling The processes of moving. Materials handling covers the processes of moving. 28. Whether materials handling automation is justifiable depends on the process. and storing a product. when.000 AGV system in one of its electronics fabrication facilities. The conversion of U. and the automated storage and retrieval system.S. and labor savings. Therefore. . thus reducing stockpiles of expensive inventories throughout the plant. packaging. Other potential costs include modifying both product and process to accommodate the robot. line flows. when the process experiences high volumes. there were more than 20. The AGV’s ability to route around problems such as production bottlenecks and transportation blockages helps production avoid expensive. In addition. ferrying parts between the stockroom.000 in Europe. AGVs enable operations managers to deliver parts as they are needed. NCR Corporation installed a $100. Machines run along a 3. Robots are the drudges of the workforce. recently left the robot business and returned to making basic machine tools. Such variability means that workers must move materials and equipment in open-top containers.S. Workers prefer them to inflexible conveyors because the AGVs do not leave until the workers have done the job correctly at their own pace. installing and debugging the robot.000 in Japan. or complaining. more consistent quality. Let’s look at two such technologies: automated guided vehicles and automated storage and retrieval systems. Most older models follow a cable installed below the floor. Cincinnati Milacron. In both manufacturing and service industries. whereas in Japan a limited supply of workers led the government to subsidize robots. job paths vary and there is little repeatability in materials handling. other types of flexible automation are now available for processes that fall between these two extremes. The automotive industry now uses AGVs in some plants as mobile assembly stands. and high repeatability. carts. and by whom materials are handled is an important technological decision. By the late 1980s. battery-driven truck that moves materials between operations. unpredictable shutdowns.5 miles per hour. handling can be automated. driverless. battery-driven truck that moves materials between operations. performing highly repetitive tasks without tiring. employers have not faced a labor shortage.5 The initial cost of a robot depends on its size and function. An automated guided vehicle (AGV) is a small. operations managers are always looking for ways to reduce costs by automating the flow of materials to and from an operation. primarily for heavy loads. packaging. and storing materials cost time and money but add no value to the product. taking a lunch break. driverless. Moving. and 80. and storing a product. the choice of how. Benefits from robot installation include less waste materials. handling.

6 sUPPLEMENT k .8 percent. An automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) is a computer-controlled method of storing and retrieving materials and tools using racks. Computer-controlled transporters deliver the materials to various workstations where they pass through a specific sequence of operations unique to each part. Tool changer Tool changer Tool changer CNC 3 Indexing tables Out In AS/RS CNC 1 Out In CNC 2 Out In Raw material storage (floor space) AGV 2 Raw material storage (roller conveyor) L/U L/U Temporary storage areas (33 pallet spaces) Load/unload stations Computer control . Such systems require a large initial investment ($5 to $20 million) but little direct labor to operate. Pennsylvania. An FMS system has three key components: 1. A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is a configuration of computer-controlled.000 spare computer parts and related publications each day — a staggering volume — using an AS/RS and 13 AGVs. IBM’s new distribution center in Mechanicsburg. An FMS is a type of flexible automation system that builds on the programmable automation of NC and CNC machines. Programs and tooling setups can be changed with almost no loss of production time for moving from production of one product to the next. semiindependent workstations where materials are automatically handled and machine loaded. For example. semi-independent workstations where materials are automatically handled and machine loaded. the automated system moves them along to the proper location. that perform a series of operations 2. ships 105. FLEXIBLE MANUFACTURING SYSTEM flexible manufacturing system (FMS) A configuration of computer-controlled. and accuracy of filled orders has reached 99. FIGURE K. Computer-Integrated Manufacturing AS/RS automated storage and retrieval system (AS/RS) A computer-controlled method of storing and retrieving materials and tools using racks. Production at this highly automated facility has increased 20 percent.K.2 A Flexible Manufacturing System AGV 1 Source: Courtesy of Vincent Mabert. loading and unloading stations Workers bring raw materials for a part family to the loading points. an AS/RS can receive and deliver materials without the aid of human hands. a computer-controlled transport system for moving materials and parts from one machine to another and in and out of the system 3. bins. Reprinted by permission.240 storage locations. such as CNC machines or robots. and stackers. several computer-controlled workstations. bins. If optical sensors confirm that the materials will fit. where the FMS takes over. and stackers. Computer control assigns newly arrived materials to one of 37. With support from AGVs.

Changing from one tool to another takes only 2 minutes.2 shows the layout of a typical FMS. an FMS can produce low-variety.2. which is a scaled-down version of FMS that consists of one or a very small group of NC machines that may or may not be linked to a materials handling mechanism. the FMS can be reprogrammed to accommodate a different product. However. The AGV transfers parts on its pallet to an indexing table. .Flexible Manufacturing System K. and out-bound pallets holding finished parts are transferred to the left side for pickup. Because automation makes it possible to switch tools quickly. when these products reach the end of their life cycles. Each magazine holds an assortment of tools. Inbound pallets from an AGV are automatically transferred to the right side of the table. move materials on pallets to and from the CNCs. setup times for machines are short. control the details of the machining process. which moves parts to the appropriate machines. The process is reversed when parts are needed for assembly into finished products elsewhere in the plant. high-volume products in much the same way that fixed manufacturing systems do.7 The route is determined by the central computer. 1 We are indebted to Vincent Mabert for much of the information about this FMS. This particular system fits processes involving medium-level variety (5 to 100 parts) and volume (annual production rates of 40 to 2. the number installed worldwide has grown to almost 500. ❐ Two AGVs.000 units per part). The goal of using FMS systems is to synchronize activities and maximize the system’s utilization. which travel around a 200-foot-long oval track. A much more popular version of flexible automation is the flexible manufacturing cell (FMC). loading takes 10 to 20 minutes. ❐ Indexing tables lie between each CNC and the track. Since the first FMS was introduced in the mid-1960s. flexible manufacturing cell (FMC) A scaleddown version of FMS that consists of one or a very small group of NC machines that may or may not be linked to a materials handling mechanism. which controls the transporter and sequence of operations. When the AGVs’ batteries run low. with about half of them either in Japan or the United States and the other half in Europe. ❐ An automatic AS/RS (upper right) stores finished parts. including Figure K. In addition. The FMC doesn’t have a materials handling system controlled by a computer. This flexibility makes FMS very appealing.1 Specific characteristics of this FMS include the following: ❐ The computer control room (right) houses the main computer. ❐ A tool changer located behind each CNC loads and unloads tool magazines. Figure K. ❐ Two load and unload stations are manually loaded by workers. This flexibility often allows one machine to perform an operation when another is down for maintenance and avoids bottlenecks by routing parts to another machine when one is busy. A machine automatically selects tools for the next specific operation. especially to operations where life cycles are short. ❐ Three CNC machines. The system can simultaneously handle small batches of many products. as does the more sophisticated FMS. the central computer directs them to certain spots on the track for recharging. which produces turning and machining centers. each with its own microprocessor. which then transfers them to the AS/RS. an FMS can be used a second way: At any given time.

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