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RoboMine:  Robotics and Intelligent Systems in Mining

  Glossary Of Terms

Here, we have compiled a glossary of terms relevant to mining robotics and intelligent systems.  

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An expression describing the ability of a measuring instrument to show the true value of a measured quantity. It is generally expressed as the magnitude of the total error expected in the measurement. It is usually given as a percent of full scale reading of the measuring instrument.


The part of a regulating valve to convert thermal, electrical, or fluid energy into mechanical energy to open or close the valve.

Adaptive control:

A system that modifies behaviour in response to changes in the dynamics of the process and the character of the disturbances.

Agent-based system:

A method to simulate a manufacturing system in which each component of the system is an agent that receives input from service agents and provides a service or outputs to client agents,

Agile manufacturing:

A means of thriving in an environment of continuous change by managing complex relationships through innovations in technology, information, and communication, organizational redesign and new marketing strategies. Adaptation of a factory to produce new products demanded by a customer or new market.


Automated guided vehicle system, vehicles equipped with automatic guidance equipment that follow a prescribed path, stopping at various stations to load or unload parts or materials.

Amplitude ratio:

The ratio of the amplitude of the sine wave output to the sine wave input. A stable system will have all of it's A.R. values below 1.0 for a variations in input frequency.

Analog signal:

A signal measurement over time that is continuous.

Artificial intelligence (AI):

The concept that a computer can be programmed to be capable of learning, reasoning, adaptation and self-correction.

Artificial neural network:

A processing architecture derived from models of neuron interconnections of the brain. Unlike typical computers, neural networks are supposed to incorporate learning, rather than programming, and parallel, rather than sequential, processing.

Automated guided vehicle system (AGVS):

Vehicle equipped with automatic guidance equipment that follow a prescribed path, stopping at each machining or assembly station for loading or unloading of parts.


(1) The conversion to and implementation of procedures, processes or equipment by automated means. (2) Industrial open- or closed-loop control systems in which the manual operation of controls is replaced by servo operation.

Autonomous system :

A network that is administered by a single set of management rules that are controlled by one person, group or organization. Autonomous systems often use only one routing protocol, although multiple protocols can be used. The core of the Internet is made up many autonomous systems.


A fixed point of reference or a standard for comparison, used to achieve excellence within the manufacturing firm; an outstanding example, appropriate for use as a model.

Best practice:

A process of benchmarking against competition to find out how the best is done.

Bill of material:

A listing of all the subassemblies, parts and raw materials that go into a parent assembly.

Bode diagram:

A drawing used to represent the system steady state (frequency) response to a sine wave input of variable frequency. The graph plots the Amplitude Ratio versus the frequency on a log-log scale and the Phase Lag versus frequency on a normal-log scale.

Cascade control:

A control system in which one feedback loop is located within another feedback loop. The two measured variables must be related by cause and effect and the inner loop must be faster than the outer loop.

Certainty factor:

A term assigned to a fuzzy rule conclusion that expresses the degree of uncertainty associated with the conclusion should the premise part be 100% correct.

Changeover time:

Time required to modify a system or workstation usually including both teardown time for the existing condition and setup time for the new condition; typically associated with a switch to new product.

Computer-aided design (CAD):

The use of high-resolution graphics in a wide range of design activities, allowing quick evaluation and modification of intent.

Computer-aided manufacturing-CAM:

The use of computer technology to generate data to control part or all of a manufacturing process.

Computer-integrated manufacturing-CIM:

The increased integration of business and manufacturing functions through application of information technology; the use of computers in all aspects of manufacturing, with integration of functions and control in a hierarchy of computer systems.

Computer numerical control (CNC):

The control of motion in an accurate and programmable manner through use of a dedicated computer within a numerical control unit having local data input such that machine tools are freed from the need for hard-wired controllers.

Concurrent engineering:

The restructuring of the engineering process so that the input of all concerned parties, including manufacturing, sales and even customers, are heard from during a project's conception.

Confidence level:

A threshold level that must be met by the premise of a rule in order for the conclusion statements to be activated.

Continuous-flow production:

Production where in products flow continuously rather than being proportioned into lots or as a series of batches.

Continuous improvement:

A philosophy of making frequent and small changes to production processes, developed in Japan; the cumulative results of which lead to high levels of quality and efficiency.

Continuous process control:

The use of transducers (sensors) to monitor a process and make automatic changes in operations through the design of appropriate feedback control loops; such devices historically have been mechanical or electromechanical, but now widely use computers and centralized control.

Control system:

The deliberate guidance or manipulation of the elements in a system in order to achieve a prescribed value or performance of a system to complete a defined process.

Control variable:

The variable within a control system that is manipulated to achieve a desired response in the output variable.

Critically-damped system:

If the roots of the characteristic equation of a second order system are real and equal, then the system is said to be critically damped, i.e., on the border between overdamped and underdamped.

Damping coefficient:

A measure of the degree of damping of the oscillations within a control system. If greater than 1.0, the system is overdamped and no oscillations will occur. If the damping coefficient equals 1.0, the system is critically damped. Between 1.0 and 0.0, the system is said to be underdamped and the oscillations will decline in amplitude over time. If the damping coefficient is less than 0 then the system is unstable.

Dark factory:

A completely automated factory with no labour.

Data acquisition system::

Any instrument or computer that acquires data from sensors via amplifiers, multiplexers and any necessary analog to digital converters; typically associated with process industries.


A collection of structured data, independent of any application.

Data highway:

The name given to the network in a plant or factory that transfers data between elements that make up the overall automation system.

Dead time:

The time over which no change in an output variable is observed following a step change in the input variable. Also known as delay time.

Dead band:

A specific range of values in which an input signal can be altered without causing a change in the output signal.

Decision-support tool:

A personal computer, client or application server-based system that uses memory-based processing to perform rapid simulations using data drawn from business transaction processing systems, such as enterprise resources planning.

Degree of belief:

A value assigned to a variable or statement which describes how strong or weak the system believes that the variable or statement is true.

Derivative control:

A controller relationship or transformation in which the slope of the error-time curve is used to determine the controller output. The slope is multiplied by a constant called the Derivative Time constant. 

Digital signal:

A signal measurement over time that consists of separate, discrete values generally with a constant sampling time interval.

Discrete event simulation:

A technique often used by engineers in the design and modification of production systems, whereby models output statistical estimates of performance, using graphic animation to help create a greater understanding of system dynamics.

Discrete manufacturing:

Production of distinct items such as automobiles and computers.

Distributed Control System (DCS):

Distributed Control Systems evolved from centralized process control computers common in the 1960s. The systems were developed for continuous-flow processes that required loop, analog, and limited discrete control. A DCS is a real-time, fault-tolerant system for continuous and complex batch-process applications.

Distribution management:

The determination of optimal quantities of each product to be made at each plant and to be distributed to each warehouse, such that manufacturing and distribution costs are minimized and customer demand is met.

Document management system:

A procedure that allows users to store, search and manipulate documents electronically, and to maintain a library of text and images in a compact space; most systems also provide a means for passing documents across a network.

Dynamic error:

The time deviation between output and input of a ramp change.

Dynamic scheduling:

Software that refines production schedules as conditions change.








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