The capabilities of automated production equipment continue to increase while the costs of the equipment fall. Software based electronic control of mechanical systems has increased the functions available and simplified the task of producing the required sequence of operations. A processing unit can be programmed to switch from one pattern of operations to another before each workpiece and thereby allow “batch of one” operation. The pattern and the parameters for each operation can be selected either by a supervisory computer or following the reading of a code, perhaps a barcode label, on the carrier of the workpiece. Sensory systems, such as vision systems, can be used to determine the positions of the workpiece and the components so that accurate jigging is not required. Also sensory systems can be used to determine that a task has been completed correctly and to inspect the quality of the workpiece before and after the operation.
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