CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

Living Edition
| Editors: The International Academy for Production Engineering, Sami Chatti, Tullio Tolio

Assembly Automation

  • Gunther ReinhartEmail author
Living reference work entry


Automation is the conversion of a procedure, a process, or equipment to an automatic operation without intervention by a human operator (CIRP 2011). In the field of assembly, automation describes the conversion of a manual assembly process to an assembly without manual labor. In general, the term describes the process of increasing the number of assembly steps carried out by automatic assembly machines in a plant.

Theory and Application


Initially, the manufacturing and assembly of products was carried out by craftsmen. This led to highly individual products, consisting of parts fitting only their one mating part. Further, the training of new craftsmen was a long and expensive effort, as expertise in all areas of manufacturing and assembly was necessary. In the early 1800s, Eli Whitney developed the concept of interchangeable parts, manufacturing 10,000 muskets for the USA on machines. Still, assembly was an expensive process due to being fully manual and therefore...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bley H, Reinhart G, Seliger G, Bernardi M, Korne T (2004) Appropriate human involvement in assembly and disassembly. CIRP Ann 53(2):487–509CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Boothroyd G (2005) Assembly automation and product design, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca RatonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Butala P, Kleine J, Wingen S, Gergs H (2002) Assessment of assembly processes in European Industry. In: CIRP (ed) Proceedings of the 35th CIRP-international seminar on manufacturing systems, 12–15 May 2002, Seoul, Korea. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  4. CIRP (2011) CIRP Wörterbuch der Fertigungstechnik IV: Produktionssysteme, Dictionary of Production Engineering, Dictionnaire des Techniques de Production Mécanique. Springer, HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  5. Ehrlenspiel K (2007) Integrierte Produktentwicklung: Denkabläufe, Methodeneinsatz, Zusammenarbeit [Integrated product development: processes of thoughts, methods in use, ways of cooperating], 3rd edn. Carl Hanser, München (in German)Google Scholar
  6. ElMaraghy H (2009) Changeable and reconfigurable manufacturing systems. Springer, LondonCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Feldmann K, Junker S (2003) Development of new concepts and software tools for optimization of manual assembly systems. CIRP Ann 52(1):1–4CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Hammerstingl V, Reinhart G (2015) Unified Plug&Produce architecture for automatic integration of field devices in industrial environments. Proc IEEE Int Conf Ind Technol 2015:1956–1963Google Scholar
  9. Hu S, Ko J, Weyand L, ElMaraghy H, Lien T, Koren Y, Bley H, Chryssolouris G, Nasr N, Shpitalni M (2011) Assembly system design and operations for product variety. CIRP Ann 60(2):715–733CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Krüger J, Lien T, Verl A (2009) Cooperation of human and machines in assembly lines. CIRP Ann 58(2):628–646CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Riley FJ (1996) Assembly automation: a management handbook. Industrial Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Warnecke H-J (1995) Der Produktionsbetrieb 1. Organisation, Produkt, Planung [Production management 1: organization, product, planning], 3rd edn. Springer, Berlin (in German)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© CIRP 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Technical University MunichMunichGermany

Section editors and affiliations

  • Joerg Krueger
    • 1
  • Kirsten Tracht
  1. 1.IWFTechnische Universität BerlinBerlinGermany