When all of the activities of the modern manufacturing plants are considered as a whole, it is impossible to think that a small portion might be automated, let alone trying to envisage automation of the whole.

Elements of computer integrated manufacturing systems CIMS

In systems approach, a large and complex system with interacting components are analyzed and improved. The one who assigned with the responsibility of implementation of automation for complex system is advised to implement a technique similar to the traditional systems approach. Following steps are involved in the systems approach:

  1. Objectives of the system are determined.
  2. Structuring the system and set definable system boundaries.
  3. Significant components for a system are determined.
  4. A detailed study of the components is carried out keeping in view the overall integration of the system.
  5. Analyzed components are synthesized into the system.
  6. On the basis of the performance criteria, predetermined system is evaluated.
  7. For continuous improvement, Step “2” to Step “6” are constantly repeated.

Even a small task should be tackled without knowledge of the task objective. This is the key ingredient which, when lacking, causes members of the same team to pull in different directions.

In the factory automation, there could be many possible objectives. One might be to improve the performance of a specific process. Boundary conditions should be limited to that process (as well as other processes that might be affected by increased output, such as material supply and assembly after production).

The other objective might be to minimize cost in a segment of the operation, and to maximize the profit ~ (Clearly it is rare) that such multiple objectives can all be optimized.

Setting system boundaries for a CIM project might be concerned only with the engineering design and actual manufacture of the products. While the integration of these two components is a major task which is not satisfied in most of the facilities, CIM helps to achieve this by going beyond these activities.

“CIM is the integration of total manufacturing enterprise through the use of integrated system and data communication mixed with new managerial philosophies which results in the improvement of personnel or organizational efficiencies”.

As definition stated above, the ultimate goal of CIM is the integration of all the enterprise operation and activities around a common data collection.During this situation, society of manufacturing engineers (SME) introduces the CIM wheel, which gives a clear cut picture of relationship among all parts of the enterprise.

Scope of cad, cam and cim

Fig. Elements of CIM

Outer layer constitutes of general management which includes marketing, strategic planning, finance, manufacturing management and human resource management.

The middle layer consists of three process segments: product and process determination, manufacturing planning and control, and factory automation.

These process segments represent all the activities in the design and manufacturing phase of a product life cycle taking the product from concept to assembly.

The center of wheel represents the third layer which includes information resources management and common database.



There are nine major elements of a CIM system are:

  1. Marketing
  2. Product Design
  3. Planning
  4. Purchase
  5. Manufacturing Engineering
  6. Factory Automation Hardware
  7. Warehousing
  8. Finance
  9. Information Management


    The need for a product is identified by the marketing division. Thi specifications of the product, the projection of manufacturing quantities and thi strategy for marketing the product are also decided by the marketing department Marketing also works out the manufacturing costs to assess the economic viability of the product.

    Product Design:

    The design department of the company establishes the initial database for production of a proposed product. In a CIM system this is accomplished through activities such as geometric modeling and computer aided design while considering the product requirements and concepts generated by the creativity of the design engineer. Configuration management is an important activity in many designs. Complex designs are usually carried out by several teams working simultaneously, located often in different parts of the world. The design process is constrained by the costs that will be incurred in actual production and by the capabilities of the available production equipment and processes. The design process creates the database required to manufacture the part.


    The planning department takes the database established by the design department and enriches it with production data and information to produce a plan for the production of the product. Planning involves several subsystems dealing with materials, facility, process, tools, manpower, capacity, scheduling, outsourcing, assembly, inspection, logistics etc. In a CIM system, this planning process should be constrained by the production costs and by the production equipment und process capability, in order to generate an optimized plan.


    The purchase departments is responsible for placing the purchase order sand follow up, ensure quality in the production process of the vendor, receive the items, arrange for inspection and supply the items to the stores or arrange timely delivery depending on the production schedule for eventual supply to manufacture and assembly.

    Manufacturing Engineering:

    Manufacturing Engineering is the activity of carrying out the production of the product, involving further enrichment of the database with performance data and information about the production equipment and processes. In CIM, this requires activities like CNC programming, simulation and computer aided scheduling of the production activity.

    This should include online dynamic scheduling and control based on the real time performance of the equipment and processes to assure continuous production activity. Often, the need to meet fluctuating market demand requires the manufacturing system flexible and agile.

    Factory Automation Hardware:

    Factory automation equipment further enriches the database with equipment and process data, resident either in the operator or the equipment to carry out the production process. In CIM system this consists of computer controlled process machinery such as CNC machine tools, flexible manufacturing systems (FMS), Computer controlled robots, material handling systems, computer controlled assembly systems, flexibly automated inspection systems and so on.


    Warehousing is the function involving storage and retrieval of rawmaterials, components, finished goods as well as shipment of items. In today’s complex outsourcing scenario and the need for just-in-time supply of components and subsystems, logistics and supply chain management assume great importance.


    Finance deals with the resources pertaining to money. Planning ofinvestment, working capital, and cash flow control, realization of receipts, accounting and allocation of funds are the major tasks of the finance departments.

    Information Management:

    Information Management is perhaps one of the crucialtasks in CIM. This involves master production scheduling, database management, communication, manufacturing systems integration and management information systems. It can be seen that CIM technology ties together all the manufacturing and related functions in a company. Implementation of CIM technology thus involves basically integration of all the activities of the enterprise.