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FABRICATION. (1) A term used to distinguish production operations for components as opposed to assembly operations. (2) Processing of natural or synthetic materials for desired mod)fication of shape and properties.

FACTORY. Manufacturing unit consisting of a number of centers and the materials transport, storage buffers, and communications that interconnect them.

FACTORY CONTROL. A module in the control hierarchy that controls a factory. Factories are controlled by management personnel and policies.

FEEDBACK DATA. Data describing the result of a previous decision or action and used to determine actual status and deviation from a plan, so as to initiate corrective action.

FIXED-STOP ROBOT. A robot with a stop-point control but no trajectory control. That is, each of its axes has a fixed limit at each end of its stroke and cannot stop except at one or the other of these limits.

FIXTURE. A device to hold and locate a workpiece during inspection or production operations.

FLEXIBLE MANUFACTURING CELL (FMC). A smaller version of an FMS having only one or two CNC machines usually served by a robot for material handling.

FLEXIBLE MANUFACTURING SYSTEM (FMS). An integrated system of process machines, material handling, and computer control system.

FLEXIBLE WORKSTATION. An automated production system usually consisting of a CNC machining center and/or specialized machines, typically linked with a tool store and material handling system through industrial robots.

FLEXION. Orientation or motion toward a position where the joint angle between two connected bodies is small.

FLOORSTOCK. Inventory issued to the plant in excess of immediate requirements.

FLOOR-TO-FLOOR TIME. The total standard time elapsed for picking up a part, loading it into a machine, carrying out operations, and unloading it (back to the floor, bin, pallet, etc.); generally applies to batch production.

FLOWLINE. An arrangement of manufacturing machines and processes in which parts or products move sequentially from one station to the next.

FLOWSHOP. A manufacturing system where machines are placed in sequence of the processes needed to produce the item.

FORCE SENSOR. A sensor capable of measuring the forces and torques exerted by a robot at its wrist. Such sensors usually contain six or more independent sets of strain gauges plus amplifiers. Computer processing (analog or digital) converts the strain readings into three or-thogonal torque readings in an arbitrary coordinate system. When mounted in the work surface, rather than the robot's wrist, such a sensor is often called pedestal sensor.

FUZZY LOGIC CONTROL. Adaptive control technique using concepts of fuzzy logic that allow manipulation of linguistic variables, rather than numerical variables.

FORWARD SCHEDULING. A scheduling technique where the scheduler proceeds from a known start date and computes the completion data for an order usually preceding from the first operation to the last. (See  BACKWARD SCHEDULING).

FRAME BUFFER. An electronic device capable of storing a digitized image in a digital memory for later readout and processing.


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