Computer-Integrated Manufacturing

Topics: Lean manufacturing, Product lifecycle management, Computer-aided manufacturing Pages: 8 (2192 words) Published: August 18, 2013
Information systems transformed the manufacturing process beginning with digital manufacturing and the integration of Computer-Aided Design (CAD) and Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM). The standards were developed in the 1980's by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) is unique by incorporating information systems for data storage, retrieval, manipulation, and presentation. The purpose of CIM is to integrate product design, engineering, process planning and manufacturing by means of computer systems. By integrating all phases of manufacturing, a company can increase productivity, quality, meet customer needs more effectively and gain flexibility (CIM). CIM separated its self from other manufacturing methods in three distinct ways. First, how the data is stored, recovered, changed and presented. The second is the devices for detecting state and changing the processes. Finally, the third is the use of algorithms for combining the data processing component with the sensor/modification component. The streamlining of these processes increase and enhances productivity and allow for more complex manufacturing techniques to be imposed (CIM).

The three major challenges facing CIM are integration, data integrity and process control. Components produced require different machines; these machines use a different communication protocol, which creates new challenges especially when the components being manufactured are constantly changing. CIM can save a company labor in terms of operating machines, but it requires increased labor in data integrity, ensuring all communication lines are running efficiently. The hard drives where the data is stored allows for manipulation and retrieval with a press of a button which needs streamlining by combining the hardware and software. Controlling the process can be the most difficult challenge in CIM (CIM). Human operators must follow the process in order to control quality as designed by the engineers. When the operators are not following the process this will cause quality issues which can be detrimental to a company’s products. The products can pass through quality control unseen due to operator error or bad parts and are sold as defect free. The customer finds the defects, and the manufacturer is then obligated to fix or replace the product.

Some of the systems found in a CIM operation, which allow for flexible manufacturing, are CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing). There are many more, but I am focusing on these two computed aided techniques due to my own experiences. Also some of the equipment used with these techniques are CNC machines (Computer Numerical Controlled), PLC (Programmable Logic Controllers), robotics, hardware, software, controllers, and networks among others. I have gained working knowledge of CAM and CNC machines, including lathes and mills. I have also gained classroom knowledge of CAD and PLC.

CAD utilizes computers to assist a designer in the creation, modification, analysis and optimization of a design. These technical drawings that utilize computer programs increase productivity improve quality and allows for database creation. AutoCAD is capable of utilizing 3D graphics, moving forward from 2D 3 view drawings. AutoCAD uses computational geometry to design curves, not calculus, which would be more system intensive. These drawings can also include tolerances, materials, and dimensions.

Computer aided manufacturing (CAM) utilizes computer software to control machine tools including CNC machines. The drawings generated in CAD are used to program the CNC machine tools using computer code. The code used is g-code which is a simple language that can easily be manipulated if needed. All of these techniques are integrated into the product lifecycle management (PLM). PLM can include information authoring like CAD, but in broader terms “focuses on managing data...
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