Fixed automation is a system in which the sequence of processing (or assembly) operations is fixed by the equipment configuration. Each of the operations in the sequence is usually simple, involving perhaps a plain linear or rotational motion or an uncomplicated combination of the two; for example, the feeding of a rotating spindle.

It is the integration and coordination of many such operations into one piece of equipment that makes the system complex. Typical features of fixed automation are:

• high initial investment for custom-engineered equipment
• high production rates
• relatively inflexible in accommodating product variety

The economic justification for fixed automation is found in products that are produced in very large quantities and at high production rates.

The high initial cost of the equipment can be spread over a very large number of units, thus making the unit cost attractive compared with alternative methods of production.

Examples of fixed automation include machining transfer lines and automated assembly machines,

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