Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Glossary Terms
Terms that are used on the Manufacturing Automation website


An agreed set of rules to allow data to be transferred among systems.

Prototype tooling

Molds, dies, and other devices used to produce prototypes; sometimes referred to as soft tooling.

Proximity switch

A device that senses the presence or absence of an object without physical contact and that in response closes or opens circuit contacts.

Pulse-width modulation

A switch-mode control method used in amplifiers and drivers to control motor voltage and current to obtain higher efficiency than linear control. PWM refers to variable on/off times (or width) of the voltage pulses applied to the transistors.

Push button

A master switch having a manually operable plunger or button for actuating the switch.


A technique that separates signal channels by 90? (electrical) in feedback devices. It is used with encoders and resolvers to detect direction of motion.

Quality Assessment

The operational techniques and activities used to evaluate the quality of processes, practices, programs, products and service.

Quality circle

A small group of people who normally work as a unit and meet frequently for the purpose of uncovering and solving problems with the quality of the items produced, process capability or process control.

Quality Control

The operational techniques and activities used to ensure that quality standards are met.

Quality Values

The principles and beliefs that guide an organization and its people toward the accomplishment of its vision, mission and quality goals.


A coding scheme that uses four different voltage levels to represent information, used over the local loop with basic ISDN.


Random Access Memory is the portion of memory with the capability to both read and write information.

Rapid prototyping

A series of approaches to obtaining an initial or prototype of a part or assembly quickly. See, for example, stereolithography.

Real time

The current time or moment when a process or event is occurring.

Real-time system

Use of precise timing in controlling an event typically consisting of multiple changing variables.

Recovery Time

The length of time which it takes a transducer to return to normal after applying a proof pressure.


Duplication to enhance reliability.


An electromechanical device for remote or automatic control that is actuated by variation in conditions of an electric current. The relay operates other devices in the same or a different circuit.

Relay Ladder Logic

This programming language expresses a program as a series of “coils” and “contacts”, simulating the operation of electromechanical relays. The resultant program is the equivalent of a boolean equation, which is executed continuously in a combinatorial manner. The advantage of this language is the familiarity many electricians have with the simple operation of relays. Disadvantages include the complexity of large, cross-connected programs, and the difficulty of expressing such non-binary functions as motion control and analog I/O. An alternative technique now being widely used is State Language control.


1) Customers have requirements or needs. If organizations are listening to customers, they will clearly identify customer requirements. The challenge for organizations is to translate these requirements into precise product/service specification. 2) Laws, statutes, rules, procedures, policies, specification, objectives, goals, operating directives, performance standards, etc.


A position transducer that uses magnetic coupling to measure absolute shaft position during one revolution.


Repeated work required when a process fails or standards are missed.


The study of the design and use of robots, particularly for their use in manufacturing and related processes.


Read Only Memory is memory used for system functions without the capability of being rewritten.


A device that operates at the Network Layer of the OSI model (Layer 3) to connect networks of different architecture by resolving the addressing differences between the networks.


Rapid Prototyping


Remote transmission request

Rule-based system

A functional system in which knowledge is stored in the form of simple if-then or condition-action rules.


Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition is typically accomplished in industrial settings by means of microcomputers.


To examine data from process sensors for use in calculations. A single sweep of PLC applications program operation. The scan operates the program logic based on I/O status, and then updates the status of inputs and outputs.

Scan time

The time to completely execute a PLC program once, including I/O update. Semiconductor any of a class of solids having higher resistivity than a conductor, but lower resistivity than an insulator. Important semiconductors are silicon, germanium, lead sulphide, selenium, silicon carbide and gallium arsenide. Semiconductor materials are the basis of all integrated circuits.


A transducer whose input is a physical phenomenon and whose output is a quantitative measure of the phenomenon.