Concept of Flexible Manufacturing Systems

Topics: Numerical control, Manufacturing, Automation Pages: 2 (350 words) Published: January 19, 2014
Concept of Flexible Manufacturing Systems - FMS - An FMS is a logical extension of CAM (computer aided manufacturing). An FMS consists of two or more computer controlled machines linked by handling devices such as robots and transport systems. In other words, an FMS is a group of NC machines which are interconnected by a material handling system. All the machines and the work handling system are controlled by computer. Computers direct the overall sequence of operations and route the workpiece to the appropriate machine, select and load the proper tools, and control the operations performed by the machine. Flexible manufacturing is usually carried out with numerically controlled machine tools, robots and conveyors under the control of a central computer. A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is an individual machine or group of machines served by an automated materials handling system that is computer controlled and has a tool handling capability. Because of its tool handling capability and computer control, such a system can be continually reconfigured to manufacture a wide variety of parts. This is why it is called a flexible manufacturing system. The key elements necessary for a manufacturing system to qualify as an FMS are as follows: 1. Computer control

2. automated materials handling capability
3. Tool handling capability
Flexible manufacturing represents a major step toward the goal of fully integrated manufacturing in that it involves integration of automated production processes. In flexible manufacturing, the automated manufacturing machine (i.e., lathe, mill, drill) and the automated materials handling system share instantaneous communication via a computer network. This is integration on a small scale. Flexible manufacturing integrates several automated manufacturing concepts: 1. Computer numerical control (CNC) of individual machine tools 2. Distributed numerical control (DNC) of manufacturing systems 3. automated materials handling systems

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