In programmable automation. the production equipment is designed with the capability to change the sequence of operations to accommodate different product configuration.

The operation sequence is controlled by a program, which is a set of instructions coded so that they can be read and interpreted by the system.

New programs can be: prepared and entered into the equipment to produce new products. Some of the features that characterize programmable automation include:

• high investment in general purpose equipment
• lower production rates than fixed automation
• f'lexihiliry to deal with vartariuns and changes in product configuration
• rnostsuitahlefor balch production

Programmable automated production systems arc used in low- and medium-volume production. The parts or products are typically made in batches.

To produce each new batch of a different product. the system must be reprogrammed with the set of machine instructions that correspond to the new product.

 The physical setup of the machine must also he changed.Tools must be loaded. fixtures must be attached to the machine table.and the required machine settings must be entered. This changeover procedure takes time.

Consequently, the typical cycle for a given product includes a period during which the setup and reprogramming takes place. followed by a period in which the hatch is produced. Examples of programmable automation include numerically controlled (NC) machine tools, industrial robots, and programmable logic controllers.

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