Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Glossary Terms
Terms that are used on the Manufacturing Automation website

Finite scheduling

Scheduling software that takes into account that manufacturing
resources-such as production capacity-are finite. Other constraints
might include personnel, regulatory pressures, or materials, as in
traditional MRP II.

Flexible automation

The ability to switch quickly from one product to another by shortening setup times.

Flexible manufacturing system

integrates combinations of various types of capital equipment,
primarily in metal-cutting applications. A system is flexible if it is
capable of processing a number of different work-pieces simultaneously
and automatically, with the machines in the system carrying out the
system??s operation in any sequence.

Flow Rate

Actual speed or velocity of fluid movement .


automated mapping and facilities management


Flexible Machine Centre is usually an automated system comprising CNC
machines, with robots loading and unloading parts conveyed into and
through the system.


See Flexible manufacturing system.


Systems that predict levels of weekly or monthly product activity over
a time horizon, typically two years. General availability of PCs and
user-friendly application programs mean forecasting can be done by
educated generalists, particularly those with the best understanding of
the factors impacting demand.


FORmula TRANslation is a procedure-oriented programming language used
to solve engineering, mathematical and scientific problems.

Free-Form Fabrication

Another (perhaps more descriptive) name for Rapid Prototyping.


The number of recurrences of a periodic phenomenon in a unit of time,
usually electronically specified in hertz (Hz)??i.e., one cycle
per second equals one hertz.

Front end

Shorthand term for the operator interface or application-specific aspects of a program.

Function (1)

The characteristic actions, operations, or kind of work a person or
thing is supposed to perform, e.g., the engineering function or the
material-handling function. (2) The operation called for in a computer
software instruction.

Fuzzy logic

a method used to model linguistic expressions that have non-binary
truth values. It has been used with PID algorithms in process control,
especially where process relationships are non-linear.


The force of acceleration due to gravity equal to 32.1739 ft/sec2 or 386 in./sec2.


A measuring device or measuring instrument.


The ratio of the magnitude of the output signal with respect to that of the input signal.

Gain error

The "gain" of an analog input or output is the scale factor that
provides the nominal conversion relationship. Typically, this is the
slope of the line when analog voltage or current is plotted versus the
corresponding digital values. Gain error is the deviation of the scale
factor or slope of the line from the ideal or nominal gain value. Gain
error is expressed in percent of the input or output value.


1) A logic element that blocks or passes a signal, depending on the
status of specified input signals.
2) The control element of an SCR or
of some other solid-state devices.


a special node that interfaces two or more dissimilar networks, providing protocol translation between the networks.

Group technology

a coding and classification system used in CAD for combining similar,
often-used parts into families. This allows them to be retrieved,
processed, and eventually fabricated, in an efficient, economical batch


a type of software designed to raise the productivity of people working
in groups and thought to have application in both engineering and
production functions.


a Graphical User Interface is characterized by using windows, icons and menus.

Hand shaking

contact among or between CPUs for identification.


An interface procedure that is based on status/data signals that assure
orderly data transfer as opposed to asynchronous exchange.


the physical, manufactured components of a computer system, such as the circuit boards, CRT, keyboard, and chassis.

Harmonic distortion

Continuous distortion of the normal sine wave, occurring at frequencies between 60 Hz and 3 kHz.


Describes an approach based on common sense rules and trial and error, rather than on comprehensive theory.

High-level language

A problem-oriented programming language in which each instruction may be equivalent to several machine-code instructions.


Human-machine interface


1) A central controlling computer in a network system.
2) Any device on
a network system that provides a controlling function to another device
on the network.
3) Any intelligent device for which another device is
providing a communication interface to a network.

Host computer

the primary computer in a multi-processor network that issues commands,
accesses the most important data, and is the most versatile processing
element in the system.