I am writing a paper to describe the relationship between two periods. The first period is measured by seconds, while the second period is measured by slots. For example, considering in a factory, the incoming material to the production line is with a period of 10 seconds (1st period), and a product can be made every slot (e.g., one slot have 15 seconds).

In the description, I want to distinguish these two periods, can I name the first one as incoming period, and the second one as producing cycle? Is there a more formal term to replace "producing cycle"?

  • It's called the production cycle, not producing cycle. Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 18:11
  • And I would not use different terms for similar concepts. That may get people looking for a distinction that you do not mean. "Input cycle" and "output cycle" strike me as preventing confusion, but I prefer "Input period" and "output period" as being a bit more accessible. Either pairing will work. Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 19:24
  • 1
    A "period" is a property of a cycle, a sequence that repeats in time. The words aren't interchangeable. In your problem, you have two different cycles, one with a period of 10 seconds, and another with a period of 15 seconds. Commented Nov 2, 2020 at 19:30

1 Answer 1


A cycle is a sequence of events or activities that repeats. The duration of a cycle is its period. A "period " can also be a span of time as in "Jones produced realistic work during his early period; impressionistic work during his middle period; surrealistic in his late period." In this use "period" is roughly equivalent to "phase". One might speak of the "setup period" and the "execution period" of a production task.

Thus "cycle" and "period" are related, but not interchangeable. One might write of the input cycle having a period of ten seconds, or simply lasting or taking ten seconds, and of the output cycle having a period of fifteen seconds.

A period is normally measured by time. I am not sure exactly what you mean by a slot here, but I would not say that the output cycle or production cycle lasts one slot. I might say that there is a production slot every fifteen seconds, or that each iteration of the production cycle occupies one slot, and takes fifteen seconds. If the production cycle is variable in length, one might say that there is one turn or instance of the production cycle (or output cycle) for each slot.

  • Thanks so much for your answers. I define a "slot" is because the slot length is a constant according to the system in my area, while the input cycle is varied that can be any value. So, can I say "The input cycle having a period of ten seconds, while the production occurs every two slots, each occupying 15 seconds"?
    – NNN
    Commented Nov 3, 2020 at 11:36

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