This section appeared for the first time in the previous edition of this standard.  The study and use of manufacturing systems have continued to evolve.  The initial version described a move from study of processes to application of analytical techniques.  More recently, and reflected in this edition, manufacturing systems are viewed in new ways and older models have become more formalized.  The success of just-in-time production has led to extension to the original theories. The more formal definitions of just-in-time systems have spawned studies of manufacturing as lean and agile systems.  Advances in computing and the application of computing power in manufacturing have brought new possibilities as well, both for the analytical power available and for the application of artificial intelligence and related methods in manufacturing systems.  Fortunately, many of the older terms continue to apply as manufacturing systems continue to grow in complexity and sophistication.


D.L. Kimbler, Ph.D., P.E.
Department of Industrial Engineering
Clemson University


J. Temple Black, Ph.D.
Department of Industrial Engineering
Auburn University

Robert P. Davis, Ph.D., P.E.
Department of Industrial Engineering
Clemson University

Richard A.Wysk, Ph.D.
Department of Industrial and
Manufacturing Engineering
Pennsylvania State University

The subcommittee wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Mr. Ravidar Patil, Clemson University, and Auburn University students in IE482 (spring 1998) for their assistance.  We also recognize the continuing valuable contributions of the other participants in the original development of this section:  Adnan Aswad, Ph.D., Ray Cole, P.E., Fred Choobineh, Ph.D., P.E., Edward L. Fisher, Ph.D., P.E., T.C. Chang, Ph.D.

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ABSOLUTE. A coordinate system in which each location is completely specified by its distance from the origin.

ACCURACY. (1) Quality, state, or degree of conformance to a recognized standard. (2) Difference between the actual response and the target position desired or commanded of an automatic control system.

ACTIVE ACCOMODATION.  Integration of sensors, control and robot motion to achieve alteration of robot's preprogrammed motions in response to felt forces.

ACTUATOR. A transducer that converts electrical, hydraulic, or pneumatic energy to effect motion.

ADAPTIVE CONTROL. A control method in which control parameters are continuously and automatically adjusted in response to measured process variables to achieve near-optimum performance.

AGILE (MANUFACTURING). Manufacturing system design, control and execution with change and adaptability in mind; the ability of a system to adapt to changes in demand, product, and technology.

ALGORITHM. A prescribed set of well defined rules or processes for the solution of a problem in a finite number of steps.

ALLOCATE. To assign a resource for use in a job performing a specific task.

ALTERNATE ROUTING. An alternate method or sequence of performing an operation, a series of operations, or a complete routing. The alternate is generally used because of a machine breakdown or an excessive overload on the machines or work centers specified in the primary routing. An operation may be replaced by either a single alternate operation or a sequence of operations.

ALTERNATE WORK CENTER. A work center that can be used in case of breakdowns or overloads in the primary work center.

ANALOG DATA. Data represented in a continuous form, as contrasted with digital data represented in a discrete (discontinuous) form.

ANALOG-TO-DIGITAL CONVERTER (A/D, ADC). A hardware device which senses an analog signal and converts it to a representation in digital form.

ANDON. A device or signal board that signals the operational status of a process.

APPLICATION PROGRAM. Computer program devised for a specific task.

ARCHITECTURE. Preset, physical, and logical arrangement of a system.

ARM. A manipulator comprising an interconnected set of links and powered joints, which supports or moves a hand or end effector.

ASSEMBLY. ( 1 ) The fitting together of fabricated parts into a complete machine structure or unit. (2) A group of subassemblies and/or parts which are put together to form a single unit.

ASSEMBLY ROBOT. A robot designed, programmed, or dedicated to putting together parts into subassemblies or complete products.

ASYNCHRONOUS.  Not related through repeating time patterns.

AUDIT. A survey or methodical investigation for gathering information.

AUTOMATED ASSEMBLY. Assembly by means of operations performed automatically by machines. A computer system may monitor the production and quality levels of the assembly operations.

AUTOMATED GUIDED VEHICLE (AGV). A self-controlled vehicle that follows specified paths in a plant floor to move material, tools, and other items. Although most systems are directed (guided) through a set of predefined (fixed) paths, new guidance systems can plan paths and control the vehicle dynamically.

AUTOMATED PROCESS PLANNING. Creation of process plans, with either partial or total computer assistance.

AUTOMATED PROGRAMMED TOOL (APT). A high level computer assisted programming language used for numerical control of machine tools.

AUTOMATIC. Pertaining to a process or device that, under specified conditions, functions without intervention by a human operator.

AUTOMATED STORAGE AND RETRIEVAL SYSTEM (AS/RS). Computer controlled high-density rack system and access device for rapid storage and retrieval of parts and tools.

AUTOMATION. (1) The implementation of processes by automatic means. (2) The theory, art, or technique of making a process more automatic. (3) The investigation, design, development, and application of methods of rendering processes automatic, self-moving, or self-controlling.

AUTONOMATION. The automatic control of quantity and quality through the separation of human and machine work.

AVAILABLE. Not yet allocated (firm). An available item may be on hand or in the process of being manufactured or delivered.

AVAILABILITY. (1) The proportion of time that a machine is in service and capable of work. (2) Total time less downtime and maintenance time.

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