Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Glossary Terms
Terms that are used on the Manufacturing Automation website

Common Mode

The output form or type of control action used by a temperature
controller to control temperature, i.e. on/off, time proportioning, PID.

Common Mode Rejection Ratio

The ability of an instrument to reject interference from a common
voltage at its input terminals with relation to ground. Usually
expressed in db (decibels).

Communication link

the mechanism for information transmission.


Sequential excitation of motor windings to maintain the relative phase
angle between the rotor and stator magnetic fields, within specified
limits, to control motor output. In brush dc motors, this function is
accomplished by a mechanical commutator and carbon brushes; in
brushless motors, it’s done electronically using rotor position


the ability for two devices to communicate together of software to run on a particular hardware platform.

Compensating Alloys

Alloys used to connect thermocouples to Instrumentation. These alloys
are selected to have similar thermal electric properties as the
thermocouple alloys (however, only over a very limited temperature


An addition of specific materials or devices to counteract a known error.


A program that translates a high-level language program into a computer’s machine code or some other low-level language.

Concurrent engineering

The restructuring of the engineering process so that the input of all
concerned parties, including manufacturing, sales and even customers,
are heard from during a project’s conception.


The collective opinion of a group on the discussion of an issue until all agree or everyone is willing to accept the decision.

Continous process control

The use of transducers (sensors) to monitor a process and make
automatic changes in operations through the design of appropriate
feedback control loops; such devices historically have been mechanical
or electromechanical, but now widely use computers and centralized

Continual Improvement

Refers to the philosophy whereby every system or process within the
organization is subject to continual scrutiny and improvement.
Continual improvement is the antithesis of the philosophy which says,
"If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." Continual improvement requires that
"If it ain’t broke, it can be made better."

Continuous-flow production

A process industry production method.

Control circuit

a circuit in a piece of equipment or an electrical circuit that carries
the signal determining the control action, as distinct from the power
used to energize the various components.

Control Mode

The output form or type of control action used by a temperature
controller to control temperature, i.e., on/off, time proportioning,

Control system

a system to guide or manipulate various elements in order to achieve a prescribed result.


a device or program that operates automatically to regulate a controlled variable.


A measurement of the quantity of electrical charge, usually expressed as pico coulomb (10-12 coulombs).


The number of time intervals counted by the dual-slope A/D converter
and displayed as the reading of the panel meter, before addition of the
decimal point


the Central Processing Unit controls the operation of the computer
system and executes the arithmetic and logic functions of a particular


In warehouse management, sending parts from receiving directly to
shipping to be placed in outgoing orders. Crossdocking allows orders to
be filled quickly and precludes parts from staying in a warehouse long
enough to be counted as inventory.


Canadian Standards Association.

Cycle Time

The interval required to complete a task, or function, starting from
the beginning of the first step until the completion of the last.


Converter Short for digital-to-analog converter. This is a device that
changes a digitally coded word into its equivalent quantized analog
voltage or current. Just like the A/D device, there are very high-speed
D/A’s available, capable of converting at data rates up to 1 GHz.

Dark factory

A completely automated factory floor with no labour.


all information of computer operations directed by the detailed instructions of the program.

Data acquisition system

any instrument or computer that acquires data from sensors via
amplifiers, multiplexers, and any necessary analog to digital

Data collection

the act of bringing data from remote points to a central location, and its organization into understandable information.

Data element

A single, atomic piece of data that cannot be subdivided and still
retain any meaning. The terms "data item" and "field" are often used
synonymously with data element.

Data Management

The process by which the reliability, timeliness and accessibility of an organization??s data base is assured.

Data space

where data reside.

Data warehouse

A database for query and analysis, as opposed to a database for
processing transactions. Separating the two functions improves
flexibility and performance.