Computer-Integrated Manufacturing

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What Does Computer-Integrated Manufacturing Mean?

Computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM) refers to the use of computer-controlled machineries and automation systems in manufacturing products. CIM combines various technologies like computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) to provide an error-free manufacturing process that reduces manual labor and automates repetitive tasks. The CIM approach increases the speed of the manufacturing process and uses real-time sensors and closed-loop control processes to automate the manufacturing process. It is widely used in the automotive, aviation, space and ship-building industries.


Techopedia Explains Computer-Integrated Manufacturing

CIM is a manufacturing approach that provides a complete automation of a manufacturing facility. All the operations are controlled by computers and have a common storage and distribution. The various processes involved in a CIM are listed as follows:

  • Computer-aided design
  • Prototype manufacture
  • Determining the efficient method for manufacturing by calculating the costs and considering the production methods, volume of products, storage and distribution
  • Ordering of the necessary materials needed for the manufacturing process
  • Computer-aided manufacturing of the products with the help of computer numerical controllers
  • Quality controls at each phase of the development.
  • Product assembly with the help of robots
  • Quality check and automated storage
  • Automatic distribution of products from the storage areas to awaiting lorries/trucks
  • Automatic updating of logs, financial data and bills in the computer system

CIM is a combination of different applications and technologies like CAD, CAM, computer-aided engineering, robotics, manufacturing resource planning and enterprise management solutions. It can also be considered as an integration of all enterprise operations that work with a common data repository.

The major components of CIM are as follows:

  • Data storage, retrieval, manipulation and presentation mechanisms
  • Real-time sensors for sensing the current state and for modifying processes
  • Data processing algorithms

The Computer Integrated Manufacturing Open System Architecture (CIMOSA) was proposed in 1990 by the AMCIE consortium to provide an open systems architecture that specifies both enterprise modeling and enterprise integration required by CIM environments.

The CIM approach has found a wide range of applications in industrial and production engineering, mechanical engineering and electronic design automation. CIM increases the manufacturing productivity and lowers the total cost of manufacturing. It also offers great flexibility, quality and responsiveness.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.