CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

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

Complexity in Manufacturing

  • Waguih H. ElMaraghyEmail author
Reference work entry



The original Latin word “complexus” signifies “entwined” or “twisted together.” The Oxford Dictionary defines “complex” as something that is “made of (usually several) closely connected parts.” A system would be more complex if more parts or components exist and with more connections in between them (EIMaraghy et al. 2012).

Several different measures defining complexity have been proposed within the scientific disciplines. Such measures of complexity are generally context dependent. Colwell (2005) defines 32 complexity types in 12 different disciplines and domains such as projects, structural, technical, computational, functional, and operational complexity. Engineered system complexity is invariably multidimensional. A complex system usually consists of a large number of members, elements, or agents, which interact with one another and with the environment. They may generate new collective behavior, the manifestation of which can be in one or more of...

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Copyright information

© CIRP 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical, Automotive and Materials Engineering (MAME)University of WindsorWindsorCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Günther Schuh
    • 1
  1. 1.Forschungsinstitut für Rationalisierung (FIR) e. VRWTH AachenAachenGermany