24th International Conference on Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing

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Program and abstracts of the 142 papers accepted for presentation at the FAIM 2014 International Conference, held in San Antonio, Texas, and organized by the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems, University of Texas at San Antonio; Conference Chair: F. Frank Chen

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    Conference program and abstracts booklet: The 24th International Conference on Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing: FAIM 2014, May 20-23, 2014, San Antonio, Texas, USA
    (Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Lean Systems, the University of Texas at San Antonio, 2014)
    Program and abstracts of the 142 papers accepted for presentation at the FAIM 2014 International Conference, held in San Antonio, Texas, and organized by the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems, University of Texas at San Antonio; Conference Chair: F. Frank Chen
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    Quality measurement in the supply chain
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Espinoza, Omar; Buehlmann, Urs; Bond, Brian
    Supply Chain Management is the integration of business processes along the value chain, from suppliers to end customer. Performance measurement of these processes has so far received little attention from researchers and practitioners. This paper reports the results from a study of a discrete products supply chain and measures its performance. In particular, a case study was conducted on a wood product supply chain, with a focus on quality performance measurements. The research question was whether current practices were consistent with end customer satisfaction and if improvements were possible. Interviews with quality management personnel and onsite evaluations were conducted at all stages of the supply chain, and a new visualization tool was developed. Quantitative and qualitative analysis tools were used to evaluate current practices. Opportunities for improvement were found in external integration and information sharing between supply chain partners. Also, a need for true measures of supply chain performance measures was identified. A 5-step process to develop such metrics is proposed, and an application example is provided. The proposed supply chain performance measurement system uses Six Sigma measures and facilitates collaboration between supply chain partners and provides information that allows focusing on improvement projects more efficiently.
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    Analysis of Internet process tool for continuous improvement and productivity in a manufacturing environment
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Smith, P. G.; Oduoza, Chike F.
    In today's busy, highly competitive market, businesses are under increasing pressure to meet targets and achieve their objectives. Previous research has shown that SMEs not only need to satisfy customer requirements, but must also meet shareholders' demands for returns on their investments. There is a wealth of research publications available to SMEs especially on the use of continuous improvement techniques; however, SMEs do not always make use of these facilities. This research focuses on analysis of a web-based process tool to quantify improvements that can be used as an incentive to gain management commitment and to support other SMEs within a community of practice in order to implement improvements in a manufacturing environment. Using Action Research in an SME environment inefficiencies have been identified and classified. The Internet portal will provide user-friendly access to Continuous Improvement CI tools suitable for SMEs within a community of practice and will contain simple to use CI tools which will enhance business productivity. The overall objective is to motivate SMEs within a community of practice to adopt process improvement techniques, especially those generated by academic research, and thereby minimise waste in the business environment.
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    E-quality control in automotive manufacturing : an integrated approach using 3D measurement and photometric stereo reconstruction
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Tseng, Tzu-Liang (Bill); Zheng, Jun; Ho, Johnny C.; Huang, Chun-Che; Ochoa, Luis A.; Lin, Yirong; Chiou, Richard
    Intense pressures for quality control are experienced by automotive parts suppliers to stay tuned in competitiveness and to build a long-term relationship with automotive manufacturers. The automotive parts suppliers are urged to contribute towards enhancing the overall quality of national car. E-quality is a process through which inspection of the process and quality of the part produced is done online resulting in the improvement of the process and reduction in the amount of time consumed for the overall process. Automated quality control involves using a methodology to classify the parts based on the damages or the dimensions of the features on a part. However, achieving high classification accuracy is not an easy task, especially in area of quality control where small differences in damages or dimensions result in part fall into a different category. And also the traditional 2D vision is not as reliable as 3D measurement due to the limitations of the technology and the structure of a part. In this study, a novel approach which integrates photometric stereo reconstruction and 3D measurement for 3D inspection is presented. The data extracted from brake caliper and lever brake was used as case study to demonstrate the proposed methodology. Results show that the new methodology yielded superior results compared to the traditional inspection approach with very high classification accuracy. Moreover, the proposed approach is capable to archive 3D models of the parts and achieve rapid quality control. This paper forms the basis for solving many other similar problems that occur in many industries.
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    An empirical study of TQM and its effect on the organizational sustainability development : a successful model for implementation
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Elhuni, Redha M.; Ahmad, Mohammad Munir
    The main purpose of this research is to construct a generic model for successful implementation of Total Quality Management (TQM) in Oil sector, and to find out the effects of this model on the organizational sustainability development performance (OSDP) of Libyan oil and gas companies using the structured equation modeling (SEM) approach. To achieve this aim, the adopted research approach covers both quantitative and qualitative methods. Based on the literature search, eleven quality factors with 42 items were identified to develop a questionnaire in order to identify the quality factors that are seen by Libyan oil and gas companies to be critical to the success of TQM implementation. 42 out of 45 questionnaires were returned sufficiently completed with response rate 93.33%. Hypotheses were developed to evaluate the impact of TQM implementation on OSDP. The empirical analysis demonstrates several key findings: data analysis reveals that there is a significant positive effect of the TQM implementation on OSDP. The analysis indicated that 24 quality factors are found to be critical and absolutely essential for successful TQM implementation. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted to discover how these CQFs are experientially rated in specific organisational contexts. An in-depth case study analysis of two selected organisations provided understanding of the process of successful TQM implementation. The results generated a structure of the TQM implementation framework linked to OSDP based on the four major road map constructs (Top management commitment, employee involvement and participation, customer-driven processes, and continuous improvement culture). Libyan oil companies should consider TQM as an innovative tool for improving OSDP in today's dynamic industry environment. The findings suggest the notion that the TQM critical success factors (CSFs) should be implemented holistically rather than on a piecemeal basis to get the full potential of the TQM.
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    Process variability reduction by using the design of experiment— A case study
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Machac, Jan; Steiner, Frantisek
    Low process variability and capability index might be some of customer's requirements. Therefore it is necessary to fulfil these requirements and guarantee them in the future. Since state-of-art companies that want to keep up with competitors have to consider all actions which might prevent losses or customer's dissatisfaction. This paper deals with possibilities how to decrease the process variability and satisfy customers. For process variability decrease, statistical experiments were carried out. The paper contains a case study devoted to the usage of design of experiment (DOE) in the production process. The case study reveals ways of dealing with real production problems and offers an effective treatment.
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    Factors for a decentralized production and sequence planning from the perspective of products and resources
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Taphorn, Christoph
    The trend towards more and more individual products leads to new challenges for production planning and scheduling. Rising numbers of variants, high fluctuations of demand and smaller production volumes require flexibility in production, which fixed assignments of products to lines often can't provide. A network of numerous internal and external manufacturing resources is necessary. The centralized production planning methods, used today, have reached the limit of their abilities in finding the best manufacturing route through this complex networks for each product. Approaches like industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing are current responses to handle mass customization by decentralization and enhanced computerization. In the future products will communicate with the machines as autonomous entities and find their optimal route through production on their own (managed by multi-agent systems). To reach this degree of self-control, systems need implemented criteria as basis for decision-making. This paper considers the different objectives of a product as it flows through the production (punctual delivery to low costs) on the one hand and, separately on the second hand, which factors the machines or resources need to optimize their schedules and what their goals are (high utilization and low costs). The different perspectives between the product objectives and the resources objectives are vividly illustrated in the analogy of a traveler planning his tour and a railroad company planning its time tables. This paper provides the important factors of influence and thereby supports the formation of a target system for software agents. It shows how product agents can decide which route to take through production and how resource agents find the optimal production program.
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    Development of predictive production model for increasing productivity of oil wells
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Sallam, Saifaddeen; Ahmad, Mohammad Munir; Nasr, Mohamed
    This paper highlights some of the reasons for the oil production decline in petroleum wells and underlies principles to produce a new model for the oil wells' production performance. The research starts by introducing some information about the available world energy resources which shows that petroleum and natural gas are used more than any other energy sources. The research also presents further information about the productivity index of oil producing wells and their performance including how this is affected and how it can be enhanced using different available methods. The total world oil reserves, gap in production and demand and how this research is important for increasing the oil production is explained. The analysis shows that a 15.47% increase in the oil reserves between the years 2008 and 2012 had caused the total world oil reserves to increase from 1,280,114 million barrels in 2008 to reach 1,478,211 million barrels in 2012. The research has showed that the additional 198,097 million barrels are sufficient to cover the world's demand for oil for about six years based on the rate of oil demand in 2012 of 32,459 million barrels. However, the total world's oil production in 2012 is 26,611 million barrels which is not enough to meet the demand. Therefore, the aim of this research is to find suitable methods for producing oil from the available oil reserves to cover the demand by reducing the losses in the oil producing wells rather than depleting the newly found reserves. However, this research is still ongoing and it is expected to give more interesting and valuable results in the future.
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    An investigation into the challenges of implementing the EFQM excellence model
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Adeyemi, Adeolu A.; Garza-Reyes, Jose Arturo; Lim, Ming K.; Kumar, Vikas; Rocha-Lona, Luis
    In recent times there has been an increasing trend, among organisations, towards the adoption of business excellence models (i.e. EFQM, Malcolm Baldrige, and Deming) as a strategic approach to drive improvements. This research takes a divergent-empirical perspective from the narrow view of current studies by investigating the challenges that organisations face when implementing the EFQM model. Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with a group of five EFQM experts that comprised quality management consultants and business managers. Primary data from participants was analysed using the qualitative content analysis approach, to collect, organise and extract key contents from the interview data. The results of the study suggest that, like with most TQM initiatives, the challenges that organisations face when implementing the EFQM model include factors such as: lack of viable leadership and top management support, lack of adequate planning, lack of skills, resources intensity, closed vertical communication, focus on short-term objectives (quick results), lack of employee commitment, and organisational structure, size and sector. The results of this empirical study can help managers and business excellence professionals understand the barriers and challenges that can impede the effective implementation of the EFQM model. It is only by understanding these challenges that best practises can be developed in order to mitigate them.
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    Concept of semi-autonomous production planning and decision support based on virtual technology
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Prinz, C.; Jentsch, David; Kreggenfeld, N.; Morlock, F.; Merkel, A.; Müller, Egon; Kreimeier, Dieter
    The following conceptual contribution is based on the two scientific fields Digital Factory (DF) as well as end-user electronics. The two fields which describe the starting points for the conceptional contribution offer promising potential for the future production and planning process. At first it can be stated that the DF is an established umbrella in industry. However, many enterprises are not capable to reap the full potential of the DF. Major obstacles are the efforts for creating digital models, updating models due to adjustments of real-world systems and employing digital models for operational planning like production planning and control. Hence, there is a clear gap between real-world production systems and their digital counterparts, which should be filled by synchronizing both worlds in reasonable – or even real – time. A further observation provides the second starting point: Latest end-user electronics made for everyday life provide powerful computing and visualization power as well as intuitive design at reasonable cost. Hence, virtual technologies (i.e. Augmented- and Virtual Reality) are not restricted to a small group of specialists anymore. The consequent question is how such rapid developments fit or can be fitted into the harsh industrial context. We propose that shop floor employees use virtual technologies to interact between synchronized worlds and software agents offer aggregated information to users. Utilizing software agents leads ultimately to semi-automatic planning processes where agents run simulations autonomously and propose planning scenarios.
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    Minimization of transportation and installation time for offshore wind turbines
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Faiz, Tasnim Ibn; Sarker, Bhaba R.
    The most challenging aspect of introducing an offshore wind energy facility is high cost of capital for transportation and installation of wind turbines. The cost associated with transportation and installation depends on the required time to complete these processes and the time requirement can be minimized by optimum selection of many variables of transportation and installation operations such as onshore preassembly of turbines, rated power output of each turbine and number of turbines in the wind farm. Impact of these decision variables on total time requirement of transportation and installation is investigated in this paper, and a time estimation model for wind turbine installation and transportation is developed. Effect of wind farm and vessel parameters on time requirement is studied. Also a numerical study is performed to illustrate the model. The results show that total time requirement is significantly impacted by turbine size and pre-assembly method.
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    Using GRAIMOD for improving performance of multi-product companies
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Dossou, Paul-Eric; Mitchell, Philip
    European economies have been deeply affected by different crises. The impact of the economic crisis on enterprises is now recognized by everybody. Enterprises are fighting to pull through the present situation and are seeking to be prepared for the post-crisis phase. Enterprises need to reorganize in order to be better adapted to this situation and to integrate new dimensions in their development. GRAI Methodology is one of the three main methodologies (with PERA and CIMOSA) for enterprise modelling. In this paper, the concepts of GRAIMOD a tool for supporting GRAI Methodology is presented. Then a zoom is made on an example related to multi-product companies for defining a reference model according to enterprises of this activity domain. For improving this enterprise performance, a multi-criteria analysis was used by combining quality, cost, lead time but also carbon management, social societal and environmental dimensions.
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    From machine utilisation to flow time: Effects of Lean transformation on scheduling
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Tokola, Henri; Niemi, Esko; Kyrenius, Pekka
    The Lean paradigm transforms a production company from utilisation-centric planning into a system in which other operating conditions such as short flow times, local control, and reduction in variation are weighted as well. This paper studies how the scheduling of production changes when the above three conditions are implemented. Their effects are studied by constructing an optimisation model for the scheduling of a flow shop. The optimisation model is based on the following ideas. First, when the flow time is emphasised, the objective of the scheduling changes from utilisation to a short flow time. Second, if local control is used, it means that the optimisation is done locally, i.e. individually at each station, and it concerns the makespan at the station. Third, if the variation is reduced, the processing times and arrival times have less variation and the scheduling can force the flow times to have less variation by using first-in-first-out (FIFO) sequencing. The experimental results achieved using the model describe how and in which order the operating conditions under study should be implemented in the scheduling. For example, if utilisation is important, local control and FIFO should not be used before variation is reduced.
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    Batch size optimization based on production part cost
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Windmark, Christina; Spang, Kathrine; Schultheiss, Fredrik; Ståhl, Jan-Eric
    When investigating different location and/or system designs the possible variables to take into consideration can differs between the alternatives. Different production system will have different optimal working conditions and hence should be compared with parameters suitable for the actual production system. When planning production and calculating production costs the batch size is of high interest. Based on a manufacturing part cost model, this paper will present a new model, close connected to the production system, integrating production performance, set-up times, material costs, material handling costs and tied capital, giving the production economic optimal batch size. The aim is to give companies a model for determining the economic optimal batch size in order to use this knowledge to make strategic decisions regarding production planning. Mathematical simulations are performed to analyse the differences in result from the developed model and Wilson's existing standard method for calculating the economic order quantity, hence to verify the importance of making an in-depth analysis, taking the production system into consideration. The advantage of the developed model is the usage of production costs based on variable batch sizes, giving a more accurate outcome.
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    Using simulation to determine the batch size for I/O drawer test process in a high-end server manufacturing environment
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Al-Fandi, Lawrence; Aqlan, Faisal
    In this research, discrete-event simulation is used to study the I/O drawer test process in a high-end server manufacturing environment in order to identify the optimal batch size of the I/O drawers to be tested per driver. High-end server manufacturing environment is characterized by fast lead time and lengthy build process. Therefore, main components of the server, such as I/O drawers, are tested ahead of time (fabrication test) and stored in inventory as tested parts to be ready for prompt fulfilment of the customer orders. In this research, a simulation model is developed for the I/O drawer test process with a focus on batching the I/O drawers on testing. Different scenarios for the batch size are considered and a statistical comparison is performed against the current scenario used by the I/O drawer Fab test operators. Unlike the "one-piece flow" lean concept which encourages small batch size (even one), the results show significant savings in cycle time and energy consumption when the batch size is increased. This is attributed to the lengthy setup time of the I/O drawer testing process as using small batch sizes requires very short set-up time. The optimal batch size scenario results in cycle time savings by 20% which is equivalent to 8116 hours per year. Other savings include: electrical energy and less consumption of chilled water for the cooling units.
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    Sustainable design and innovation for office furniture and its implementation
    (DEStech Publications, Inc, 2014) Seyajah, N.; Cheng K. (Kai); Bateman, R.
    Products such as furniture are a combination of components that together provide the functionality required by the customer. For the designer, the product configuration has special importance. The impetus for new ideas becomes obvious as they will influence the future industrial designers. The objective of this research is to develop a new tools to help designer make a most effective decision making toward sustainable design. At early design decision makings, the design concept selection at the component design level can cause the product to be redesigned or remanufactured. Early design decision makings are essential and have significant impact on sustainable design of furniture products. However, there are still challenges to evaluate a significant sustainable design especially to furniture industry on open plan system. The aim of the research presented in this paper is to address the issues above in an integrated sustainable design.
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    Optimum constant-stress and step-stress accelerated life tests under time and cost considerations
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Han, David
    By running life tests at higher stress levels than normal operating conditions, accelerated life testing quickly yields information on the lifetime distribution of a test unit. The lifetime at the design stress is then estimated through extrapolation using a regression model. To conduct an accelerated life test efficiently with constrained resources in practice, several decision variables such as the allocation proportions and stress durations should be determined carefully at the design stage. These decision variables affect not only the experimental cost but also the estimate precision of the lifetime parameters of interest. In this work, under the constraint that the total experimental cost does not exceed a pre-specified budget, the optimal decision variables are determined based on C/D/A-optimality criteria. In particular, the constant-stress and step-stress accelerated life tests are considered with the exponential failure data under time constraint as well. We illustrate the proposed methods using a case study, and under a given budget constraint, the efficiencies of these two stress loading schemes are compared in terms of the ratio of optimal objective functions based on the information matrix.
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    Considering assembly requirement specifications in product development: Identification and approach
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Asadi, Narges; Schedin, Joel; Fundin, Anders; Jackson, Mats
    Due to the major advantages such as reduced time to market and improved quality at lowered cost, the principles of design for assembly capabilities and concurrent engineering are of great significance when developing new products. However, identifying assembly requirement specifications and considering them in New Product Development (NPD) in a timely manner, while securing efficiency and robustness of assembly processes, still remains a challenging task. In presenting a case study of an NPD project in a manufacturing company, this article focuses on the process of capturing and incorporating the requirements related to the assembly system during the early phases of NPD. Further, the results of the research study indicate the different assembly requirements in the case company and pinpoint the challenges in practices involved in handling them. The assembly requirements identified in this research reflect some of the challenges encountered in handling the requirements, through the investigated requirement practice. Based on the results, the issues of when and how to consider the assembly requirements are highlighted in the conclusions and suggestions for future research are made.
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    3-D biocompatible microneedle arrays with nanoporous surface
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Chen, Po Chun; Hsieh, Sheng Jen
    During the past few years, developing painless needles or patches to replace traditional hypodermic needles has been investigated. Since micromachining can be used to construct a high density metallic micropillar array, we propose to use a biocompatible metal oxide, such as Al2O3 and TiO2, as an alternative material for fabricating arrays of microneedles. In this study, we fabricated an anodic aluminum oxide (AAO) covered Al micro-indent array using electrochemical and mechanical micromachining. We demonstrate use of a nanoindenter to make pyramidal indentions on Al surface in order to produce a female microneedle array mold. We also performed melting injection to fill AAO template with ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) to produce UHMWPE nanotubes. The microneedle array provides a 3-D structure that possesses several hundred times more surface area than a traditional nanotube template. This suggests that a medical-grade polymer microneedle array can potentially be formed for more applications. This 3-D microneedle array device can be used not only for painless injection or extraction, but also for storage, highly sensitive detection, drug delivery, and microelectrodes.
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    Optimizing the morphing displacement of sandwiched nanotube buckypaper actuators via design of experiments methodology
    (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2014) Lin, Yueh-Shao; Yang, Ming-Chia; Chen, I-Wen Peter; Chen, YiWen
    The actuation properties of carbon nanotube buckypaper have been proved and demonstrated in many researchers' studies. Sandwiched buckypaper/porous film+ion liquid/buckypaper structure showed the lightweight and high efficient morphing displacement actuator at a low electrical power with square wave frequency. However, the buckypaper actuation performance showed the huge variation due to their material components and manufacturing process. Buckypapers are made by different type's carbon nanotubes and fabricated by difference preparation processes will result in various electrical properties and actuation performance. This work first will understand the buckypaper electrical properties which are fabricated by two manufacturing process of positive pressure filtration process and negative pressure filtration process. In addition, we will compare and optimize the displacement performances of two different buckypapers, analyze the relationship between the electrical properties and displacement and blocking force performance buckypaper actuator via Design of Experiment (DOE) methodology. To incorporate buckypaper actuators into engineering systems, it is of high importance to understand their material property-actuation performance relationships in order to model and predict the behavior of these actuators. The electromechanical actuation of macroscopic buckypaper structures and their actuators will be investigated and analyzed. Using DOE methodology, the optimal or appropriated manufacturing parameter settings will be suggested for high displacement, stable actuation, and good durability within fewer experimental runs.