Advanced Manufacturing Terms to Know

Whether you’ve been in Advanced Manufacturing for years or are new to the field, there’s a lot of jargon to know. Read up on the terms that will make you sound like an expert.

5 axis machining
A CNC machine that is able to perform different movements at the same time.
ABET accredited school
ABET accreditation provides assurance that a college or university program meets the quality standards established by the profession for which the program prepares its students. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) accredits programs in applied science, engineering, and computing.
Advanced manufacturing
Production processes that rely on cutting-edge science and technology research to make everyday objects from fans and motors to airplane tray tables.
Agile manufacturing
Agile manufacturing helps a plant to achieve rapid response to customer needs and includes the ability to quickly reconfigure operations to respond rapidly to unforeseen shifts in the marketplace.
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine
Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines are devices that make industrial components without direct human assistance. They use computer-coded instructions that are sent to computerized machinery, which allows factories to fabricate parts accurately and quickly.
Computer-aided design (CAD)
Computer-based systems for product design that may incorporate "what-if" capabilities to optimize product designs. In many cases, CAD-generated data is used to generate tooling instructions for computer-numerical-control (CNC) systems.
Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM)
Computerized systems in which manufacturing instructions are downloaded to automated equipment or to operator workstations.
Continuous-flow manufacturing (CFM)
A manufacturing process that aims at less waste in materials and processes by using less inventory.
Training employees in several skill sets so that they may fill in for one another as needed.
Discrete manufacturing
The production or assembly of parts and/or finished products that are recognizable as distinct units capable of being identified by serial numbers or other labeling methods.
Flexible manufacturing system (FMS)
Automated manufacturing equipment and/or cross-trained work teams that can accommodate production of a small amount of products.
JIT/continuous-flow production
Implementation of "just-in-time" techniques to reduce setup times, inventory, and waste, and improve throughput, to reduce manufacturing cycle time.
Practice that focuses on continuous improvement of processes in any process such as manufacturing.
Lean manufacturing
A manufacturing practice that aims to reduce wasted time, effort or other resources in the production process.
Manufacturing cost
Includes quality-related costs, direct and indirect labor, equipment repair and maintenance, other manufacturing support and overhead, and other costs directly associated with manufacturing operations.
Manufacturing cycle time
The time of actual production from when a customer order is released to the plant floor for a particular product through to the completion of all manufacturing, assembly, and testing for that specific product.
The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) is a coding system of the U.S., Mexican, and Canadian governments that identifies specific economic sectors.
Original equipment manufacturer (OEM)
Refers to a company that produces hardware to be marketed under another company's brand name.
Planning and scheduling technologies
A variety of software-based advanced planning, scheduling, and optimization systems.
Process manufacturing
The manufacture of products such as chemicals, gasoline, beverages, and food products that typically are produced in "batch" quantities.
Product-development cycle
Sometimes called "time to market," this is the period of time from the start of design/development work to having the product in hand.
Six Sigma
Continious process improvement with the aim of increasing customer satisfaction.
Supply-chain/logistics systems
A class of manufacturing software designed to optimize scheduling and other activities throughout the supply chain.
Total quality management (TQM)
A company-wide approach to improving all aspects of quality and customer satisfaction -- including fast response and service, as well as product quality.