Automated Systems and Control 135

This class identifies common methods of industrial automation. It describes the available technologies and explains how they are applied in manufacturing.

Class Details

Class Name:
Automated Systems and Control 135
Number of Lessons:
Additional Language:

Class Outline

  • Objectives
  • Automated Systems and Control
  • Computer-Integrated Manufacturing
  • Information Technology
  • CNC Programs
  • Robotics
  • Coordinate Systems
  • PLC Programs
  • PLC Hardware
  • Material Handling and Identification Systems
  • Networks
  • Management Information Systems
  • Manufacturing Execution Systems
  • Enterprise Resource Planning
  • Summary


  • Describe automated systems.
  • Describe computer-integrated manufacturing.
  • Describe information technology.
  • Distinguish between types of CNC program codes.
  • Describe industrial robots.
  • Identify common coordinate systems.
  • Describe relay ladder logic.
  • Identify common PLC hardware.
  • Describe material handling and identification systems.
  • Identify common network devices.
  • Describe management information systems.
  • Describe manufacturing execution systems.
  • Describe enterprise resource planning.

Job Roles


  • CMfgT


Vocabulary Term Definition
AND A logic function in which both A and B must be true to trigger C. AND works similar to a series circuit.
assembly vehicles A type of AGV that moves a part being assembled or a part to the assembly process. Assembly vehicles must often move heavy parts but must be precise enough not to damage them.
automated guided vehicle An industrial robot that can move freely about the workspace. AGVs can take the form of carts, forklifts, or train vehicles.
automated storage and retrieval systems A form of automated material handling that stores products and material and accesses it when they are needed.
automatic identification system A form of automated inventory control that improves both quality and production efficiency. Automatic identification systems include bar codes, RFI, and magnetic stripes.
automation The automatic control of equipment, a process, or a system. Automation is an efficient means of performing manufacturing processes.
axes Imaginary straight lines or circles used to describe the location or movement of an object in the Cartesian coordinate system.
bar code A machine-readable code in the form of numbers and a pattern of parallel lines of varying widths, printed on and identifying a product. Bar coding is one of the most reliable forms of automatic identification systems.
block A single line of the part program that consists of words.
block I/O A smaller type of PLC that is a self-contained box. A block I/O PLC has fewer input and output modules.
bridge A hardware device that connect two networks and breaks the segments of one network into smaller groups. Bridges filter incoming traffic and decide whether to forward or discard it.
Cartesian coordinate system A numerical system that describes the location of an object by numerically expressing its distance from a fixed position along three linear axes.
CNC A type of programmable control system, directed by mathematical data, which uses microcomputers to carry out various machining operations.
computer-aided design The use of a computer to design parts. Computer-aided design (CAD) software creates a virtual model of the part.
computer-aided manufacturing The use of a computer to manufacture parts. Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) generates the coded instructions for machining the part.
computer-integrated manufacturing The overall adoption of computer technology into all aspects of the manufacturing process. CIM takes the form of CAD/CAM or systems like an MIS.
control system A method of directing the type of path a robot takes. The control system processes the robot programming.
coordinate code A word that describes positions along a particular axis. Coordinate codes are expressed as X codes, Y codes, and Z codes.
CPU The main device that processes information and carries out instructions. Also known as the controller or processor.
discrete A signal that has two states, ON and OFF.
enterprise resource planning A specific application of a management information system that takes the data from internal and external information systems and integrates it throughout the organization.
examine off A basic PLC logic instruction symbol. Examine off is true if an input is absent.
examine on A basic PLC logic instruction symbol. Examine on is true if an input is present.
F code A word that determines the feed during a cutting operation.
feedback Information sent back into the control system that allows actual position to be compared to desired position. The system can signal the motor to move if the positions do not match.
fixed PLC Fixed PLCs combine all of the main components into a single unit that contains the CPU, input/output sections, and power supply. The number of inputs and outputs cannot be expanded.
fork vehicles A type of AGV that can lift and lower materials. Forks are available in different styles other than the standard dual fork.
G code A name commonly used to represent the basic CNC programming language. Within a program, G codes determine the type of operation performed on the machine.
gateway A device used to join different hardware or protocols on a network and make them compatible.
hardware The physical equipment used in a computer system. PLC hardware includes the CPU, power supply, input/output section, and programming device.
high-bay storage A warehousing configuration designed to efficiently utilize vertical space. Due to the use of automated retrieval systems, the height of high-bay storage is limited only by the height of the warehouse.
industrial robot A programmable mechanical device that is used in place of a person to perform dangerous or repetitive tasks with a high degree of accuracy. Industrial robots are a form of automation.
information technology A blanket term for the hardware, software, and the interfaces between computers and the tools and machines on the shop floor. IT software provides data and information and also controls the hardware.
local area network A small data communications network that is usually confined to a single room or building.
M code A word used to signal an action from a miscellaneous group of commands. M codes change cutting tools, turn on or turn off the coolant, spindle, or workpiece clamps, among other actions.
magnetic stripe A stripe of tiny iron-based magnetic particles on a band of magnetic material that is imprinted with data. Magnetic stripes are less common than bar codes.
management information system A system designed to collect, process, and distribute relevant data to those who make key decisions. MIS is a form of IT.
manufacturing execution system A type of MIS system used specifically to manage and execute manufacturing operations. MES allows companies to use the power of computers to store product, machine, and materials data and use it to effectively optimize operations.
material handling The process of loading, unloading, placing, or manipulating material. Types of material handling include machine tending, part transfer, packaging, and palletizing.
modular PLC A PLC configuration in which each component is split into a separate unit. A modular PLC lets you have as many inputs and outputs as you want.
MSDS Material safety data sheets. Mandatory information that must accompany almost every chemical in the workplace except for items like cleaning supplies. An MSDS includes details such as the risks, precautions, and first aid procedures associated with the chemical.
network Two or more linked devices that use a set of rules or a set of protocols to communicate with each other. Networks are a necessary component of any IT system.
noise An AC power line disturbance caused by sudden changes in the load. Electrical noise is problematic to data communications equipment because they cannot differentiate between an intended electrical pulse and an unintended electrical spike.
OR A logic function in which the output is triggered if either A or B is true. OR works similar to a parallel circuit.
origin The fixed central point in the Cartesian coordinate system. The origin has a numerical value of zero at each axis.
output The most common PLC output symbol. Using this means to energize, or turn on, the output.
part program A series of instructions used by a CNC machine to perform the necessary sequence of operations to machine a specific workpiece. G code is a common programming language.
power supply A separate power source for a PLC that converts the standard incoming 120VAC to the low voltage DC that the CPU requires, usually around 5V.
programmable logic controller A processor-driven device that uses logic-based software to provide electrical control to machines. Commonly known as a PLC.
protocol The standards and rules used by network devices to interact with each other. In many respects, protocols are the language that network devices use to communicate.
rack I/O A larger type of PLC that is a collection of I/O cards that are linked together and stored in a rack. A rack I/O can handle thousands of inputs and outputs.
radio frequency identification A technology that uses radio waves to transfer data from an electronic tag, called RFID tag or label, attached to an object, through a reader for the purpose of identifying and tracking the object.
rapid traverse The movement of machine components at the fastest possible rate of travel. Rapid traverse motion merely requires an endpoint for the movement.
relay ladder logic The most common PLC programming language. Relay ladder logic is based on electrical schematics.
repeater A hardware device that amplifies a signal that has traveled a long distance.
router A network device that determines where information packets should go and sends them to their destination by the shortest, most efficient route.
rung The horizontal programming lines in ladder logic. Each rung controls one output.
S code A word that determines the speed during a cutting operation.
servomotor A type of motor used in applications that require precise positioning. Many robots use DC servomotors.
T code A word that determines which specific cutting tool will be selected during a tool change.
teaching A process used to program a robot and control its movements. Teaching is typically done using a teach pendant.
tool coordinates A robot coordinate system that sets the origin at the end-effector. Tool coordinates change their orientation as the tool moves.
toolpath A series of program blocks that describes the movements of a single cutting tool. Toolpaths can be defined using CAM.
train vehicles A type of AGV that pulls trailers loaded with material. Train vehicles are capable of pulling extremely heavy loads.
transmission medium The means by which data travels through a network. Typically this is some type of cable, although wireless networks are becoming increasingly common.
TRUE A PLC input contact condition that triggers an output--an ON condition. A true condition exists when the presence or absence of an input matches the logic of the contact.
unit load carriers A type of AGV that has powered decks that lift and lower to transport pallets loaded with material.
voltage spikes A sudden, short surge in voltage. Voltage spikes can be caused by lightning, power outages, short circuits, or power transitions in large equipment on the same power line.
world coordinates A robot coordinate system that sets the origin at the centerline of the first joint. World coordinates are static.
X-axis The linear axis representing motions and positions that travel the longest distance parallel to the worktable.
Y-axis The linear axis representing motions and positions that travel the shortest distance parallel to the worktable.
Z-axis The linear axis that represents motions and positions perpendicular to the worktable. The Z-axis is always parallel to the spindle.