CIM (computer integrated manufacturing) is ever-evolving. It is used to reduce production costs, improve product quality, and increase efficiency. Computer technology enables CIM. This provides a level of control over the manufacturing process that is not possible with manual means. Integration involves using a database that is shared among all related applications using a common interface. CIM is more than a connection of computer and machine tools on the factory floor. It is the total connection of manufacturing operations from the front door to the shipping dock. The concept of CIM technology is fluid. It is applied differently according to the operation it’s being applied to.
CIM could lead to a people-free production process in which manufacturing machines receive orders from central computers and reply with calculations for their respective completion of assignments. Production machines can do quality-control for products as they’re manufactured, reporting to the central computer for compilation of SPC (statistic process control) data. An operation’s size and scope is the dictating force in what hardware and software needs to be used. CIM is the integration of computer apps, communications, and organizational change. Utilizing CIM, these three basic components make up Integrated Manufacturing Enterprise.
Manufacturing product planning combines business objectives, marketing, products, and facilities into a singular unit. Product planning in a CIM environment is more effective than conventional planning methods. With relevant computer databases, clear concise product specifications can be developed at minimal cost. Intelligently developed product specifications involve more than function, geometry, and materials. Cost, equipment availability, maintenance requirements, operation safety, and workforce skill level must be considered in developing the production plan. Two main considerations for production planning are whether the product can be made and whether parts and materials can be obtained. Other considerations include in-house processing capabilities, scheduling, tooling requirements, and assembly methods. Market research and forecasting are needed to determine product viability. The primary objective of market research is to decide if a product is potentially profitable to the company. Accurate forecasting identifies materials, money, and resources. This is critical in order for the gathered information to be viable. The function of product design directs all subsequent manufacturing operations. The use of expert systems is a facilitating component of product design. Expert systems comprise computer programs and databases that allow engineers to make decisions and select courses of action far in advance of traditional methods. They allow the use of simulation and introduction of different scenarios potentially resolving issues before they occur. Production cost can be reduced through integration of standardization in said simulations.
Manufacturing product engineering is the application of available technology enabling production. It requires specialized education and knowledge of modern manufacturing techniques. Databases must be created. Engineers will use computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering (CAD/CAE) to generate manufacturing documents, a computer-aided process plan (CAPP), and programs to direct the function of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) equipment that will actually produce the part. Process planning, tool design, and numeric control (NC) are the three major responsibilities of the manufacturing engineer. Group technology (GT) is a concept grouping similar items and operations into families. This allows common applications to be used to produce parts with similar attributes. GT reduces manufacturing cost and maximizes profit. It is the main component of the cellular manufacturing process FMS (flexible manufacturing system). With FMS, production machines are placed in cells in the order required to most efficiently produce the part. This optimizes production.
Manufacturing control and execution is the operation and control of the manufacturing process. It has three major control methods: performance measurement, records accuracy, and cycle time analysis. The first and most critical step in performance measurement is the establishment of baseline data. Flowcharts or other recording measures are used to track data and establish process trends. Data must be accurately collected and stored securely. The stored data must be organized to facilitate retrieval by selected users. The data must be assignable to the source and means of collection. The cycle time is critical information for all aspects of production. It determines when a product can be delivered, what quantities of raw stock are needed, and when they must be delivered. Cycle time enables a manufacturer to practice the concepts of TQC/JIT. Total quality control is sometimes referred to as quality at the source. It is based on the concept of a perfect part every time. Just in time is a cost-cutting method. It is characterized by a product arriving at the right place at the right time. This reduces total production time by eliminating the QC (quality control) station.
Automated technology was born of necessity as much as the desire to make machine that could do human work. Automation replaces people with machines. This lowers production costs and results in better quality parts.
Computer assisted manufacturing (CAM) uses numeric control (NC) technology to further automate the manufacturing production process. NC uses adaptive control. This is altering a process to meet the needs of changing conditions. Computer numeric control (CNC) machines are the newest incarnation of NC. These machines are directly controlled by computer-generated data. All current high-tech endeavors require the manufacturing techniques facilitated by CNC machining. Benefits realized by CNC techniques include: increased machine tool efficiency, decreased program loading time, decreased machine toll downtime, reduced price-per-part, improved parts quality, and quicker machine setup.
Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia, the Wikipedia Foundation, Inc. Mod 6 Jan. 2011.