Setting up a CIM system for training and demonstration - on a budget: the 'ACME FMS'
The main aim of the paper is to pass on experience in setting up a CIM system for training and, demonstration on a restricted budget, in order to simulate real conditions in industry. The conclusions drawn are relevant to the restructuring of Australia's manufacturing industry, especially relating to Advanced Manufacturing. To begin with, a history of the project from concept to realisation is given, including participants involved, project objectives, and a description of the system. Hence the paper covers the manufacturing abilities of the ACME FMS, a section on integration and control aspects, a cost analysis, information on training directions, as well as suggested future directions. The project, and the related training programmes, focus equally on the commercial side of manufacturing, including management information systems and quality management approaches - as well as the technical side. The major conclusion to be drawn is that Australia's manufacturing industry need not be wary of CIM, a mature technology, that CIM does not mean an unmanned factory, and that the level of integration of the communication network only needs to meet projected requirements - provided the system installed, which can be PC-based, may be suitably expanded when and as required. The paper also shows that major limitations include not only a lack of suitably trained personnel, but also a lack of industry standards in the PC/CNC/PLC/robotics communications area, especially at basic or entry PC level.