Manufacturing AUTOMATION

Glossary Terms
Terms that are used on the Manufacturing Automation website


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.

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.