A meaningful classiﬁcation of technical systems, which are also called working equipment and operating resources can be considered in accordance on the basis of the system function and the system output. The categories “transformation,” “transport,” and “storage” can be differentiated regarding the system function. Transformation means that the outputs of a system are quantitatively and/or qualitatively different from the system inputs. Transport signiﬁes that only the spatial and temporal coordinates between inputs and outputs change while the material, energetic, and informational attributes remain constant in quality and quantity. The function class “storage” is concerned; if only the temporal coordinates of the output differ from those of the input while all other attributes (material, energy, information, space) are not subject to change.
These function classes can be assigned to the following three terms: production technique, transport technique, and storage technique. The term of production is to be understood in close
technical sense. The output of a technical system can be differentiated regarding material, energy, and information. Material is everything that possesses mass and takes up physical space. Energy is deﬁned as the ability to carry out work in a physical sense. By information, a conﬁguration or a series of symbols is understood to which a certain meaning can be attached and which can lead to certain behavior.Single technical subjects can be assigned to the individual ﬁelds of the pattern represented. Thus, for example, the process engineering and the manufacturing technique are located in the ﬁeld of “material/transformation.” While process-engineering systems produce materials with exactly deﬁned chemical and physical characteristics, the output of manufacturing systems consists of products with exactly deﬁned material and geometrical characteristics.
Complex technical systems, which contain many subsystems in relation with each other can be assigned to a ﬁeld regarding their primary function and their substantial output, but apart from their characteristic technique most of the other techniques are also used in subordinated functions. A manufacturing system, for example, apart from its main technical function covers handling- and storage-technical subfunctions, as well as energy- and information-technical subfunctions. Systematics of technical systems —like Ropohl’s scheme —can serve as a framework for the design of the technical subsystem of a work system. Further technical systematics can be allocated to the individual ﬁelds, referring to Ropohl’s scheme. For example, in reference to the manufacturing technique (ﬁeld “material/transformation” in the scheme) different manufacturing processes can be distinguished. These individual manufacturing processes can in turn be differentiated further. Thus, cutting processes are divided into cutting with geometrically welldeﬁned tool edges and cutting with nondeﬁned tool edges. The ﬁrst-mentioned category consists, for example, of turning, milling, roaching, drilling, and boring. These individual processes can in turn be classiﬁed according to different criteria.