Classification of reconfiguration resources and lead time for reconfigurable manufacturing systems
Manufacturing technology can improve the turnover of a company if it enables fast market introduction for volume production. Reconfigurable equipment is developed to meet the growing demand for more agile production. Modular reconfiguration, defined as changing the structure of the machine, enables larger variation of products on a single manufacturing system; these solutions are called Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMS). The quality of RMS, and the required resources to bring it to reliable production, is largely determined by a swift execution of the reconfiguration process. This paper proposes a method to compare alternatives for the ways to implement reconfiguration. Three classes of reconfiguration are defined to distinguish the impact of the proposed alternatives. The procedure uses a recently introduced index method for development of RMS process modules. This index method is based on the Axiomatic Design theory. Weighing factors are used to calculate the resources and lead time needed to implement the reconfiguration process. Application of the method leads to quick comparison of alternatives in the early stage of development. Successful execution of the method was demonstrated for the manufacturing process of a 3D measuring probe.
Includes bibliographical references