flexible manufacturing system

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flexible manufacturing system (FMS)

a means of PRODUCTION which makes extensive use of programmed AUTOMATION and COMPUTERS to achieve rapid production of small batches of components or products, whilst maintaining flexibility in manufacturing a wide range of these items. In FMS systems computer-controlled machines can be quickly switched from the production of one component or product to another by reprogramming the machines. Such reprogramming also facilitates the smooth running of the production system by allowing a component or product to be processed on several different machines, thus avoiding production bottlenecks or delays caused by machine breakdowns.

flexible manufacturing system (FMS)

a means of PRODUCTION that makes extensive use of ‘programmed’ AUTOMATION and COMPUTERS to achieve rapid production of small batches of components or products while maintaining flexibility in manufacturing a wide range of these items.

Flexible manufacturing systems enable small batches of a product to be produced at the same unit cost as would be achievable with large-scale production, thus diminishing the cost advantages associated with ECONOMIES OF SCALE and lowering the MINIMUM EFFICIENT SCALE. This enables small firms to compete in cost terms with large firms and may lead to a lowering of SELLER CONCENTRATION. See BARRIERS TO ENTRY.

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