COMPUTERS IN MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES: Business or Financial Management, Factory Level Production management, CIM Technologies, Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM), Manufacturing Information, Manufacturing System


Factors governing increased productivity, more accuracy, greater
flexibility of shapes, and reduced manufacturing costs are forcing
the manufacturing concerns to use computers in design, manufacturing and other
allied functions of industrial activities. With an increase in the need for
quality manufacturing along with the factors such as short lead time and short
product lives and increasing consumer awareness as regards the quality of the
product, it is becoming increasingly important for the manufacturers to
initiate steps to achieve all these. The
developments in microelectronics in the recent past have made higher
computational ability available at a low cost. Therefore, it becomes imperative
that manufacturing takes advantage of the availability of low cost and also using yet more powerful computers. Computers
have been in use in manufacturing industries since 1960. Initially they
were in use only in supportive functions such as inventory control purchase
accounting, etc. In to day’s time, computer applications have progressed
considerably in all areas of design and manufacturing involving CAD and CAM.
This however needs to be emphasized that all the benefits of CAD and
CAM can be achieved only if these
two important functions are effectively interfaced. This interfacing is known as CAD/CAM. It involves the flow of
information in both the directions. With the result
the parts and assemblies are designed keeping
in view the limitations and

capabilities of the processes and materials. Consequently, newer and superior products can be produced more
quickly and at lower costs.

Today, computers are not only used in manufacturing
but they play also an important role
in all manufacturing related activities such as business or financial management,
factory level production management, CIM technologies, CAD, feature and solid
modelling, and CAM, manufacturing
information, manufacturing system. The important sub-activities of industrial
environment have been identified to support with the use of computer in the
manufacturing industries. These are given as under:

A. Business  or 
Financial Management

1. Costing

2. Sales and Marketing

3. Purchase Order Control

4. Vendors

5. Subcontracting

6. Personnel.

B. Factory Level Production management

1. Planning

2. Production Management

3. Manufacturing production scheduling (MPS)

4. Material requirement planning (MRP)

5. Just in time (JIT)

6. Bill of Materials

7. Capacity Planning

8. Inventory Control.

C. CIM Technologies

1. Computer Networks

2. System Design and Analysis

3. Distributed Processing

4. Database Management Manufacturing

5. Modelling and Simulation

6. Expert Systems

7. Quality Engineering.

D. Computer Aided Design (CAD)

This area is also known Feature and Solid Modelling

1. Variational and Parametric

2. Modelling

3. Computer Graphics

4. Graphic Standards

5. Inter-graphics exchange specification (IGES)

6. Data exchange file (DXF)

7. Manufacturing Robot Programming

8. Design Analyses Tools

9. Programming

10. Finite element modelling (FEM)

11. Finite element analysis (FEA)

12. Simulation

13. Mechanisms

14. Test and Analysis

15. Design Tools Mechanical

16. Hydraulic, Electronics, etc.

E. Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)

This involves activities related
to manufacturing information and manufacturing system which are given as under.

A. Manufacturing Information

1. Generation

2. Process Planning

3. Production Planning

4. Computer numerical control (CNC) part Programming

5. Robot

6. Coordinate measuring machine (CMM) Programming.

B. Manufacturing System

1.  Production Activity

2.  Machining

3.  Assembly

4.  Material Handling

5.  Storage

6.  Production Control

7.  Loading

8.  Scheduling

9.  Balancing

10.  Capacity Planning

11.  Quality Control.

One of the most important
components for getting various benefits associated with computer applications
in manufacturing is the common databases associated with all aspects of
manufacturing. In fact, all the modules in the CAM would actually be sharing the
database created in any module. Any module would be able to modify the data as
required for that particular application. This approach reduces
the work involved in maintaining the product database and at the same time
includes the latest modifications for any aspect related to manufacturing. In
contrast to the common database approach, it is possible that sometimes
individual modules in the production aspects may be taken from different
vendors. In this case care need to be taken that information is properly
transmitted between the modules
and the data updating in all the modules takes place properly
and at the right time. Some of above
manufacturing activities are controlled by computers. 

These activities are commonly identified using the following
1. Computer Aided
Design (CAD)
2. Computer Aided
Engineering (CAE)
3. Computer Aided
And Drafting (CADD)
4. Computer Aided
Process Planning (CAPP)
5. Computer Aided Tool Design (CATD)
6. Computer Aided
Manufacturing (CAM)
7. Computer Aided
Numerical Control (NC) Part Programming
8. Computer Aided Scheduling
9. Computer Aided
Material Requirement Planning, etc.
10. Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS)
11. Group Technology (GT)
12. Computer aided Testing (CAT).

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