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Analog Signal

A signal having the characteristic of being continuous and changing smoothly over a given range, rather than switching suddenly between certain levels.


A technique that is used to make a process automatic.

Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)

Using computers to operate and control machines and processes to manufacture a product.

Computer-Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)

A company-wide management philosophy for planning, integration, and implementation of automation.

Closed-Loop System

A system that uses feedback from the output to control the input.

Digital Signal

A system of discrete states: high or low, on or off, 1 or 0.


The ability to bring a desired result with the least waste of time, energy, or material.


A conductor wrapped around an iron core. The two ends of the conductor are attached to a power source. When current passes through the conductor, the iron core becomes magnetized.


Try out a new procedure, idea, or activity.


Information about the output of a system that can be used to make adjustments.

Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS)

The efficient production of small amounts of products.


A diagram that shows step-by-step progression through a procedure or system especially using connecting lines and a set of conventional symbols.

Fluid Power

Use of liquids or gases under pressure to move objects or perform other tasks.

Fuel Cell

Device that combines hydrogen, or other fuels, and oxygen and produces electricity in the process.


Fluid power system that uses water, oil, or another liquid.


A symbol or graphic representation on a screen of a program.


An improvement of an existing technological product, system, or method of doing something.


Information fed into a system.


The place at which independent and often unrelated systems meet and act on or communicate with each other.


A new product, system, or process that has never existed before, created by study and experimentation.


To function imperfectly or badly.

Normally Closed

The contact of a relay that is closed when the coil is de-energized.

Normally Open

The contact of a relay that is open when the coil is de-energized.

NTC Resistor

A negative temperature coefficient, also known as a thermistor, is a sensitive resistor whose primary function is to exhibit a change in electric resistance with a change in temperature.

Open-Loop System

A control system that has no means for comparing the output with input for control purposes. An open-loop system often requires human intervention.


The information produced by a computer.


A photo-sensitive resistor whose resistance decreases as the light striking the unit increases.


Fluid power system based on the use of air or another gas.


Set of instructions that control the operation of a computer.

Reed Switch

An electromagnetically operated switching device.


A device that responds to a physical stimulus (as heat, light, sound, pressure, magnetism, or a particular motion) and transmits a resulting impulse (as for measurement or operating a control).


Programs and other operating information used by a computer.

Solar Cell

A device that converts solar radiation into electricity.


A device for making, breaking, or changing the connections in an electrical circuit.


A group of interacting, interrelated, or interdependent elements or parts that function together as a whole to accomplish a goal.


A level or point at which something would start or cease to happen or come into effect.


Locating and finding the cause of problems related to technological products or systems.

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