Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Glossary Terms
Terms that are used on the Manufacturing Automation website

Sequence control

The control of a series of machine movements, with the completion of one movement initiating the next. The extent of movements is typically not specified by numerical input data.

Servo mechanism

An automatic, closed-loop motion control system that uses feedback to control a desired output such as position, velocity, or acceleration.


A power-driven mechanism that supplements a primary control operated by a comparatively feeble force (as in a servo mechanism).

Signal conditioning

To make a signal compatible or intelligible to a given device, by processing its form or mode.


Short message service


Statistical Process Control is a quality control method focusing on continuous monitoring of the process rather than the inspection of finished products, with the intent to achieve control of the process and eliminate defective product.


Statistical Quality Control applies statistical techniques to the observed characteristics of a process.


Structured Query Language is a format for accessing data within a relational database management system.


A rule or measure by which a finished product will be measured. A rule established to create a yardstick for measuring or guiding quantity, quality, value, etc. A vehicle for communication.

State Languages

State languages are used primarily for expressing sequences of operations in the real world. Typically, these languages divide a program into a series of “states,” or steps – the program executes wholly in one step until some transition event occurs which causes the program to move to a new step. As such, it represents a reasonable way to express the operation of machinery, which itself must transit through a series of mechanical states as it operates. Practical state languages used for automation must allow multitasking, whereby multiple threads of steps may be in operation at once.


A form of rapid prototyping involving the building of solid plastic objects from a CAD file by projecting a laser-generated beam of ultraviolet radiation onto the surface of a vat of photosensitive resin.


A strategy is a series of planned and sequenced tasks, which together allow for achievement of the critical success factor. Strategies must be clearly stated, observable and measurable.

Supervisory control

The use of computers to accomplish operator interface, data acquisition, process monitoring, and some degree of production control.


A device for making, braking, or changing the connections in an electric circuit. In controller practice, a switch is considered to be a device operated by other than magnetic means.

Synchronize a state

Ensuring frequencies of two systems are equal.


A set of well-defined and well-designed processes for meeting the organization??s quality and performance requirements.

Systems integration

The ability of computers, instrumentation and equipment to share data or applications with other components in the same or other functional areas.


An electromagnetic feedback transducer providing an analog voltage signal proportional to rotational speed.


Timer/Counter Access Terminal.


Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. A transport layer protocol and a network layer protocol developed by the Department of Defense. This is a commonly used combination for communication within networks and across internetworks.


Any operator interface used to communicate with a computer from a remote location.


A load connected to the end of a transmission line. To avoid signal reflections, it must match the characteristic impedance of the line.

Thread speed

A fixed usually adjustable low speed supplied to provide a convenient method of loading and threading machines. May also be called a preset speed.


The rate at which equipment processes or transmits data.

Thumb-wheel switch

A multi-position rotary switch with a sprocket that is stepped forward or backward by using a finger or thumb to rotate it.

TNS field

Transaction field. A 16-bit field that indicates which message transaction is taking place.


To switch alternately between 2 possible selections.

Toggle switch

A lever-action 2-position switch that snaps into either position.


1) A transmission from the present bus master that grants bus mastership to a station. Mastership is required for a station to originate communication. 2) The logical right to initiate communication.


An instrument used to perform a task or to display collected data. For example; graphs, charts, diagrams, questionnaires, etc.


A turning or twisting force that tends to produce rotation.

Total Quality Management

A systematic customer focused approach to continuous performance improvement. A philosophy and set of guiding principles which represent the foundation for continuously improving the organization through employee involvement. The application of quantitative methods and human resources to improve the materials and services supplied to and by an organization and all the processes within the organization and the degree to which the needs of the customer are met. The integration of fundamental management techniques, existing improvement efforts, and technical tools, under a disciplined approach to focus on continuous improvement.