Automation, Production Systems, and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing,

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 25 September 2009



(2009), "Automation, Production Systems, and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing,", Assembly Automation, Vol. 29 No. 4.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Automation, Production Systems, and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing,

Automation, Production Systems, and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing

Article Type: Book review From: Assembly Automation, Volume 29, Issue 4

Mikell P. Groover,Prentice-Hall,2007,840 pp.,ISBN: 9780132393218,$151.00,Web site:,

The introduction given to Mikell P. Groover's book Automation, Production Systems, and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing is given as.

“This exploration of the technical and engineering aspects of automated production systems provides the most advanced, comprehensive, and balanced coverage of the subject of any text on the market. It covers all the major cutting-edge technologies of production automation and material handling, and how these technologies are used to construct modern manufacturing systems.”

It is, therefore, quite legitimate to conduct a more thorough analysis of this edition, just as the global economy reels into its major recession, and questions as to how we are to produce in the future become more prevalent in a climate-focused community.

Before any comment is made, it must be clearly stated that there are few textbooks which cover this topic in such depth. Groover's book is very well structured. It subdivides the topics in a pedagogically correct manner, introducing the basic foundations in an introductory chapter, and then proceeding to a more elaborate overview. The subsequent chapters are all well aligned with the overall subject matter, and the complexity of the topic is gradually developed. It is thorough and delves into what most production engineers feel are the main topics. Or are they?

The main drawbacks to this volume reside precisely in this question: as we shifted from a “flexibility” era, into a more diffuse technological age with paradigms such agile manufacturing, holonic manufacturing, lean production, and evolvable systems, do our most fundamental textbooks maintain the relative pace? This is doubtful, and a quick review of the references used by Groover clearly indicates two things: there are very few references to work done after 2002, and all the references under “Flexible manufacturing systems” date back to pre-2000 publications. There is no mention of re-configurable assembly/manufacturing systems, or Makino's subdivision of assembly systems. Nevertheless, particular sections on six-sigma and sensors are well updated, but this is primarily due to the fact that they have been popular within industry lately.

Basically, there is little or no discussion on what the next generation manufacturing systems will focus on, which is surprising in view of the Visionary Manufacturing Challenges for 2020 (CVMC, 1998) document produced in the USA, which did point out clear indicators (some of which have, since then, acquired considerable momentum). Topics which should be covered in a higher-education/post-doctoral role include distributed control systems, modeling of systems, complex systems thinking, reference architectures, ontologies and their role, etc. Unfortunately, these are not covered, and symptomatically, the topic computer-aided manufacturing itself is now considered outdated by most universities.


“The book is a solid, well-structured textbook for undergraduate studies and basic production engineering concepts. It is not, however, suited for higher education or leading-edge endeavours as it does not provide with an adequate outlook to what future technologies and concepts may come to rule within production engineering within the next 10-20 years. Nevertheless, there are hardly any other textbooks on the market, today, that cover this subject area as well structured as Groover's book does.”

Mauro Onori

EPS Group, Department of Production Engineering, Stockholm, Sweden


CVMC (1998), Visionary Manufacturing Challenges for 2020, Board on Manufacturing and Engineering Design, Committee on Visionary Manufacturing Challenges, National Academy Press, Washington, DC, available at:

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