CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

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


  • George ChryssolourisEmail author
  • Hans-Peter Wiendahl
  • Loukas Rentzos
  • Sotiris Makris
Reference work entry



Factory, manufacturing systems, and production are closely related terms and often are not distinguishable, neither in literature nor in industry. In the following essay, manufacturing and production will be seen as functions for the generation of products (Chryssolouris 2006), whereas the factory represents the physical and logical means of performing production and manufacturing processes. An industrial manufacturing site includes the buildings, the manufacturing facilities, and the ground on which they are located (CIRP Dictionary of Production Engineering 2004).

Extended Definition

A factory is a local grouping of production factors for the realization of the entire or a part of the value chain of real goods. The main production factors are material, facilities, work force, energy, and information.

Theory and Application


The history of factories can better be described from the viewpoint of their main change...

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Copyright information

© CIRP 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Chryssolouris
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hans-Peter Wiendahl
    • 2
  • Loukas Rentzos
    • 1
  • Sotiris Makris
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems and Automation (LMS), Department of Mechanical Engineering and AeronauticsUniversity of PatrasPatrasGreece
  2. 2.Institut für Fabrikanlagen und LogistikUniversity of HannoverHannoverGermany