Computer Integrated Manufacturing: Overview and Suggested Strategy.

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The relatively new area of manufacturing technology referred to as Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) is defined and explored In terms of its current status and future potential. The various components of CIM are described, both those in common use today, such as Computer Aided Design (CAD), Computer Aided Manufacfuring (CAM) and Manufacfuring Resource Planning (MRP II), and those that are in early stages of development, such as Computer Aided Proceso Planning (CAPP), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Group Technology (GT). The two most prominent CIM approaches, the single data base and the multiple data base designs, are presented, and their relative merits discussed. It is concluded that at least in the near future, the multiple data base approach is the most practical. In support of this conclusion, a strategy for CIM implementation is given in which components are integrated in gradual process as technology allows. The required exchange of informatlon would be through the use of a central data 'bus' linking the various systems. The starting point for the strategy is the integration of CAD , MRP II through part specification data , Bills of Material. MRP II would then function as the central coordinating 'hub' of CIM as other components are integrated into the system.