CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

2014 Edition
| Editors: The International Academy for Production Engineering, Luc Laperrière, Gunther Reinhart

Flexible Manufacturing System

  • Hoda ElMaraghyEmail author
  • Alessandra Caggiano
Reference work entry



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. It is implemented for the mid-volume, mid-variety production and represents 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 using group technology. The FMS is most suited for the mid-variety, mid-volume production range. FMS exploits the benefits of the Economy of Scope while achieving the efficiencies of the Economy of Scale (ElMaraghy 2006).

The reason the FMS is called flexible is that it is capable of processing a variety of different part variants belonging to the same...

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


  1. Azab A, ElMaraghy HA (2007) Mathematical modeling for reconfigurable process planning. CIRP Ann 56(1):467–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chryssolouris G (2006) Manufacturing systems: theory and practice. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  3. ElMaraghy HA (2006) Flexible and reconfigurable manufacturing systems paradigms. Int J Flexible Manufact Syst (IJFMS) 17(4):261–276, Special issue on reconfigurable manufacturing systemszbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. ElMaraghy HA (2007) Reconfigurable process plans for responsive manufacturing systems. In: Cunha PF, Maropoulos PG (eds) Digital enterprise technology: perspectives and future challenges. Springer Science, Boston, pp 35–44CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Groover MP (2000) Automation, production systems, and computer integrated manufacturing, 2nd edn. Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJGoogle Scholar
  6. Groover MP (2007) Fundamentals of materials manufacturing: materials, processes and systems, 3rd edn. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  7. Matta A, Semeraro Q (2005) Design of advanced manufacturing systems. Springer, The NetherlandsCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Tolio T, Valente A (2006) An approach to design the flexibility degree in flexible manufacturing systems. In: 16th international conference on flexible automation and intelligent manufacturing, University of Limerick, Ireland, June 2006, pp 26–28Google Scholar
  9. Toni DE, Tonchia S (1998) Manufacturing flexibility: a literature review. Int J Prod Res 36(6):1587–1617zbMATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Wiendahl H-P, ElMaraghy HA, Nyhuis P, Zaeh M, Wiendahl H-H, Duffie N, Kolakowski M (2007) Changeable manufacturing: classification, design, operation. CIRP Ann 56(2):783–809, Keynote PaperCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© CIRP 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Canada Research Chair in Manufacturing Systems, Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering, Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) CentreUniversity of WindsorONCanada
  2. 2.Fraunhofer Joint Laboratory of Excellence on Advanced Production Technology, Department of Chemical, Materials and Production EngineeringUniversity of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly