Computer-integrated manufacturing

Computer-integrated manufacturing
Manufacturing Systems Integration Program, NIST 2008.

Computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) is the manufacturing approach of using computers to control the entire production process.[1][2] This integration allows individual processes to exchange information with each other and initiate actions. Through the integration of computers, manufacturing can be faster and less error-prone, although the main advantage is the ability to create automated manufacturing processes. Typically CIM relies on closed-loop control processes, based on real-time input from sensors. It is also known as flexible design and manufacturing.[citation needed]



The term "computer-integrated manufacturing" is both a method of manufacturing and the name of a computer-automated system in which individual engineering, production, marketing, and support functions of a manufacturing enterprise are organized. In a CIM system functional areas such as design, analysis, planning, purchasing, cost accounting, inventory control, and distribution are linked through the computer with factory floor functions such as materials handling and management, providing direct control and monitoring of all the operations.

As a method of manufacturing, three components distinguish CIM from other manufacturing methodologies:

  • Means for data storage, retrieval, manipulation and presentation;
  • Mechanisms for sensing state and modifying processes;
  • Algorithms for uniting the data processing component with the sensor/modification component.

CIM is an example of the implementation of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in manufacturing.

CIM implies that there are at least two computers exchanging information, e.g. the controller of an arm robot and a micro-controller of a CNC machine.

Some factors involved when considering a CIM implementation are the production volume, the experience of the company or personnel to make the integration, the level of the integration into the product itself and the integration of the production processes. CIM is most useful where a high level of ICT is used in the company or facility, such as CAD/CAM systems, the availability of process planning and its data.


The idea of "digital manufacturing" was prominent the 1980s, when computer-integrated manufacturing was developed and promoted by machine tool manufacturers and the Computer and Automated Systems Association and Society of Manufacturing Engineers (CASA/SME).

"CIM is the integration of total manufacturing enterprise by using integrated systems and data communication coupled with new managerial philosophies that improve organizational and personnel efficiency." ERHUM

Computer-integrated manufacturing topics

CIM & production control system: Computer Integrated Manufacturing is used to describe the complete automation of a manufacturing plant, with all processes running under computer control and digital information tying them together.[3]

Key challenges

There are three major challenges to development of a smoothly operating computer-integrated manufacturing system:

  • Integration of components from different suppliers: When different machines, such as CNC, conveyors and robots, are using different communications protocols. In the case of AGVs, even differing lengths of time for charging the batteries may cause problems.
  • Data integrity: The higher the degree of automation, the more critical is the integrity of the data used to control the machines. While the CIM system saves on labor of operating the machines, it requires extra human labor in ensuring that there are proper safeguards for the data signals that are used to control the machines.
  • Process control: Computers may be used to assist the human operators of the manufacturing facility, but there must always be a competent engineer on hand to handle circumstances which could not be foreseen by the designers of the control software.

Subsystems in computer-integrated manufacturing

A computer-integrated manufacturing system is not the same as a "lights-out" factory, which would run completely independent of human intervention, although it is a big step in that direction. Part of the system involves flexible manufacturing, where the factory can be quickly modified to produce different products, or where the volume of products can be changed quickly with the aid of computers. Some or all of the following subsystems may be found in a CIM operation:

Computer-aided techniques:

Devices and equipment required:




CIMOSA (Computer Integrated Manufacturing Open System Architecture), is a 1990s European proposal for an open system architecture for CIM developed by the AMICE Consortium as a series of ESPRIT projects.[4][5] The goal of CIMOSA was "to help companies to manage change and integrate their facilities and operations to face world wide competition. It provides a consistent architectural framework for both enterprise modeling and enterprise integration as required in CIM environments".[6]

CIMOSA provides a solution for business integration with four types of products:[7]

  • The CIMOSA Enterprise Modeling Framework, which provides a reference architecture for enterprise architecture
  • CIMOSA IIS, a standard for physical and application integration.
  • CIMOSA Systems Life Cycle, is a life cycle model for CIM development and deployment.
  • Inputs to standardization, basics for international standard development.

CIMOSA according to Vernadat (1996), coined the term business process and introduced the process-based approach for integrated enterprise modeling based on a cross-boundaries approach, which opposed to traditional function or activity-based approaches. With CIMOSA also the concept of an "Open System Architecture" (OSA) for CIM was introduced, which was designed to be vendor-independent, and constructed with standardised CIM modules. Here to the OSA is "described in terms of their function, information, resource, and organizational aspects. This should be designed with structured engineering methods and made operational in a modular and evolutionary architecture for operational use".[6]


There are multiple areas of usage:

See also


  1. ^ Kalpakjian, Serope; Schmid, Steven (2006), Manufacturing engineering and technology (5th ed.), Prentice Hall, p. 1192, ISBN 9787302125358, 
  2. ^ Laplante, Phillip A. (2005), Comprehensive dictionary of electrical engineering (2nd ed.), CRC Press, p. 136, ISBN 9780849330865, 
  3. ^ Waldner, Jean-Baptiste (September, 1992). Principles of Computer-Integrated Manufacturing [1]. London: John Wiley & Sons. pp. 128-p132. ISBN 047193450X. 
  4. ^ AMICE Consortium (1991). Open System Architecture for CIM, Research Report of ESPRIT Project 688, Vol. 1, Springer-Verlag, 1989.
  5. ^ AMICE Consortium (1991), Open System Architecture, CIMOSA, AD 1.0, Architecture Description, ESPRIT Consortium AMICE, Brussels, Belgium.
  6. ^ a b F. Vernadat (1996). Enterprise Modeling and Integration. p.40
  7. ^ Richard C. Dorf, Andrew Kusiak (1994). Handbook of Design, Manufacturing, and Automation. p.1014

Further reading

  • Yoram Korem, Computer Control of Manufacturing Systems, McGraw Hill, Inc. 1983, 287 pp, ISBN 0-07-035341-7
  • Singh, V (1997). The Cim Debacle: Methodologies to Facilitate Software Interoperability. Springer. ISBN 9813083212.
  • A. de Toni and S. Tonchia, Manufacturing Flexibility: a literature review International Journal of Production Research, 1998, vol. 36, no. 6, 1587-617.
  • Jean-Baptiste Waldner (1992), Principles of Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, John Wiley & Sons, ISBN 047193450X
  • Jean-Baptiste Waldner (1990), CIM, les nouvelles perspectives de la production, DUNOD- BORDAS, ISBN 9782040198206

External links

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