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What are FMSs and CIMs?

Flexible Manufacturing Systems and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing

Many manufacturers have changed their basic manufacturing philosophy in the past few decades. Causes of  change  include:  (1) automated equipment and a  cellularplant layout, (2) computer hardware and software technology, and (3) new manufacturing systems and philosophies such as JIT and activity-based management.

Traditionally, most manufacturing firms employed long production runs to make thousands of identical models of the same products; this process was encouragedby the idea of economies of scale. After each run, the machines would be stoppedand a slow and expensive setup would be made for the next massive production run to begin. Now, an entirely new generation of manufacturing known as flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs) is being developed.

An FMS involves a network of robots and material conveyance devices monitored  and  controlled by  computers  that  allows  for  rapid production  and  responsiveness  to  changes  in production needs. Two or more FMSs  connected  via  a host computer and an information networking system are generally referred to as computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM). The dimensions  of  a  traditional manufacturing  system with  an  FMS. Although  an  FMS  is typically associated with short-volume production runs, many companies  have also begun to use CIM  for high-volume  lines.
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