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May 2012 MB0044 –Q1. Describe briefly the Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM).

Answer : Computer integrated manufacturing (CIM)

Integration occurs when a broad range of manufacturing and supporting activities are linked. CIM is the complete automation of a manufacturing plant, with all processes functioning under computer control and digital information tying them together. The three major functions in manufacturing are production, design, and management function. Production function converts resources into products. The design function transforms customer specifications into design. Finally the management functions plan and control production

activities. The three computer aids in CIM are:

· Computer aid to the production function (automated flow of materials)

· Computer aid to the design function (automated flow of technological information)

· Computer aid to the management function (automated flow of managerial information)

When it comes to production, CIMs are included in different areas of production process such as in engineering design, production planning, shop control, order processing, material control, distribution and many other areas. Information flow across all the functions takes place with the help of computers. Transmission, processing, distribution, and feedback happen almost in real time so that intended activities are conducted rapidly. (See Figure for CIM related activities)

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Figure : CIM related activities

CIM process helps in rapid production and also reduces indirect costs. CIM uses computers to control the entire production process. This integration allows the processes to exchange information with each other and thus they become capable of initiating actions. As response times decrease, customer satisfaction increases resulting in better business. CIM helps in avoiding accumulation of materials resulting in better throughput and better utilisation of space. Bar coded labels that accompany materials contain instructions for processing them which are read by sensing devices and display the status on monitors. This information is available to all concerned personnel responsible in planning, marketing and other activities so that they will be aware of the status of any order. If expediting is needed to meet deadlines, they will be able to seek intervention. Identifying shortages and ensuring faster deliveries become easy with CIM.

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