Evolution, Nature & Role and Development of CIM (Computer Integrated Manufacturing)


Evolution of Computer Integrated Manufacturing

Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) is considered a natural evolution of the technology of CAD/CAM which by itself evolved by the integration of CAD and CAM. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA) is credited with pioneering the development in both CAD and CAM. These developments were funded by the US Air Force.

Manufacturing engineers started using computers for such tasks like inventory control; demand forecasting, production panning and control etc. CNC technology was adapted in the development of co-ordinate measuring machine’s (CMMs) which automated inspection. Robots were introduced to automate several tasks like machine loading, materials handling, welding, painting and assembly. All these developments led to the evolution of flexible manufacturing cells and flexible manufacturing systems in early 70’s.

Nature and Role of the Elements of CIM system

Nine major elements of CIM systems are in figure "Major Elements of CIM System" below. They are explained below.

(a) Marketing

(b) Product Design

(c) Planning

(d) Purchase

(e) Manufacturing Engineering

(f) Factory Automation Hardware

(g) Warehousing

(h) Finance

(j) Information Management
Major Elements of CIM System

Development of CIM

CIM is an integration process leading to the integration of the manufacturing enterprise. Dictated by the needs of the individual enterprise this process usually starts with the need to interchange information between the some of the so called islands of automation, flexible manufacturing cells, automatic storage and retrieval systems, CAD/CAM based design are the examples of islands of automation i.e. a sort  of  computer  based automation  achieved  completely  in  a  limited  sphere  of activity  of  an  enterprise. This involves data exchange among computers, NC machine, robots, gantry systems etc. Therefore the integration process has started bottom-up. The interconnection of physical systems was the first requirement to be recognized and fulfilled.