Configuration of Flexible Manufacturing Systems

With stiff global competition, the "Voice of the Customer (VOC)" has been demanding increased diversity in product offerings, along with frequent updates to each product. This, in turn, is influencing manufacturing to invest in more flexible equiptment for new programs. A piece of flexible equiptment will be defined as one that has the ability to perform multiple processing tasks on a wide range of products (for example, CNC Machining Centers for machining prismatic parts, or robots for material handling).

An opportunity that flexibility provides manufacturing is the possibility to explore various processing sequences available through alternative system configurations. Ideally, the configuration that yields maximum quantity of parts, at best quality and at least cost, with high responsiveness to product change is desired.

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