This thesis is concerned with identifying the problems and constraints faced by
small batch manufacturing companies during the implementation of Computer
Integrated Manufacturing (CIM). The main aim of this work is to recommend
generic solutions to these problems with particular regard to those constraints
arising because of the need for ClM systems integration involving both new and
existing systems and procedures. The work has involved the application of
modern computer technologies, including suitable hardware and software tools, in
an industrial environment.
Since the research has been undertaken with particular emphasis on the industrial
implementor's viewpoint, it is supported by the results of a two phased
implementation of computer based control systems within the machine shop of a
manufacturing company. This involved the specific implementation of a
Distributed Numerical Control system on a single machine in a group technology
cell of machines followed by the evolution of this system into Cell and Machine
Management Systems to provide a comprehensive decision support and
information distribution facility for the foremen and uperators within the cell. The
work also required the integration of these systems with existing Factory level
manufacturing control and CADCAM functions. Alternative approaches have
been investigated which may have been applicable under differing conditions and
the implications that this specific work has for CIM systems integration in small
batch manufacturing companies evaluated with regard not only to the users within
an industrial company but also the systems suppliers external to the company.
The work has resulted in certain generic contributions to knowledge by
complementing ClM systems integration research with regard to problems
encountered; cost implications; the use of appropriate methodologies including
the role of emerging international standard methods, tools and technologies and
also the importance of 'human integration' when implementing CIM systems in a
real industrial situation.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.