CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

2019 Edition
| Editors: Sami Chatti, Luc Laperrière, Gunther Reinhart, Tullio Tolio

Flexible Manufacturing System

  • Hoda A. ElMaraghyEmail author
  • Alessandra Caggiano
Reference work entry



A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is an integrated group of processing CNC machines and material-handling equipment under computer control for the automatic processing of palletized parts. FMSs represent a compromise between the high flexibility of versatile job shops and the high production rate of a dedicated mass production system (e.g., transfer lines). It is capable of producing limited number of preplanned part families and utilizes similarities between members of a parts family based on group technology. FMSs are most suited for the mid-variety, mid-volume production range, exploiting the benefits of the Economy of Scope while achieving the efficiencies of the Economy of Scale (ElMaraghy 2006). Moreover, flexible manufacturing is capable of responding quickly to increasing product variants and decreasing quantities per variant (ElMaraghy et al. 2013).

The reason behind the attribute “flexible”...

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© CIRP 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Intelligent Manufacturing Systems CenterUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  2. 2.Canada Research Chair in Manufacturing Systems, Intelligent Manufacturing Systems CentreUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada
  3. 3.Department of Industrial Engineering, Fraunhofer Joint Laboratory of Excellence on Advanced Production Technology (Fh-J_LEAPT Naples)University of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly