Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM) describes the integration of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM). In the early 1960s, Ivan Sutherland developed the SKETCHPAD system, a milestone of research achievement in computer graphics. The evolution of computer graphics has since resulted in the development of CAD. On the other hand, CAM was inspired by numerical control (NC) machines which were first introduced in the early 1950’s. The communication between CAD and CAM systems became possible by reuse of the product model designed in CAD systems and CAM systems.
Computer Integrated manufacturing (CIM) is a general term used to describe the computerized integration of the conventionally isolated functions of manufacturing, such as product design, planning, production, distribution and management. It essentially needs large scale integrated communication system and extensive database. For this, functions of various elements of a manufacturing system are treated by subsystem serves as the input to another subsystem. Organizationally, the subsystems can be broadly grouped into two sets of functions:
- Business Planning: Forecasting, scheduling, material requirement planning, invoicing and accounting.
- Business Execution: Production and process control, material handling, testing and inspection.
Improved product quality and increased flexibility in use of capital are the two board benefits of using CIM. Additionally, CIM offers the following benefits:
- Responsiveness to short product life cycles and dynamics of global competition.
- Process control resulting in consistent product quality and uniformity.
- Control on production, scheduling and management of the total manufacturing operations.
- Improved productivity by optimum use of resources.