After reading this supplement, you should be able to:
1. Describe several types of technologies that comprise computer-integrated manufacturing. 2. Discuss the advantages of these different technologies.
The popular press often writes about the factory of the
variety of products without human intervention. Although some“peopleless” factories do exist and others will be built,
future: a fully automated factory that manufactures a wide
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 andengineering, 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, improvequality, 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. Lessthan 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.
> COMPUTER-INTEGRATED MANUFACTURING <
One study asked managers how much their com- computer-aided manufacturing (4.0), flexible manufacpanies invest in several of the technologies that com- turingsystems (2.5), automated materials handling prise CIM (Boyer, Ward, and Leong, 1996). The study (2.3), and robots (2.1). Another study across all indusfocused on firms in the metal-working industry (i.e., tries found company expectations for future investprimary metal, fabricated metal, machinery, electronic ments to have the same rank ordering of CIM compoequipment, and transportation equipment),in which nents (Kim and Miller, 1990). Thus, CIM is an important the use of CIM is believed to be most widespread. The aspect of technology in manufacturing, but it is just study measured investment on a 7-point scale (1 = no one set of tools that helps many manufacturing firms, investment and 7 = heavy investment). Computer- even those with high wages, remain competitive in the aided designreceived the highest average score (5.2), global marketplace. In the following sections, we followed by numerically controlled machines (4.8), describe these tools and their potential benefits.
> COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN AND MANUFACTURING <
computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) The total integration of product design and engineering, process planning, and manufacturing by means of complex computersystems. computer-aided design (CAD) An electronic system for designing new parts or products or altering existing ones, replacing drafting traditionally done by hand. Computer-aided design (CAD) is an electronic system for designing new parts or products or altering existing ones, replacing drafting traditionally done by hand. The heart of CAD is a powerful desktop computer and graphics softwarethat allow a designer to manipulate geometric shapes. The designer can create drawings and view them from any angle on a display monitor. The computer can also simulate the reaction of a part to strength and stress tests. Using the design data stored in the computer’s memory, manufacturing engineers and other users can quickly obtain printouts of plans and specifications for a part or product....