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Reconfigurable production system design – theoretical and practical challenges
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. (IPR)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9800-4840
Jönköping University.
2013 (English)In: Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, ISSN 1741-038X, E-ISSN 1758-7786, Vol. 7, 998-1018 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to explore theoretical and practical challenges to achieve reconfigurable production system designs. Design/methodology/approach - The empirical material of this paper includes a multiple-case study with an embedded design (Yin) including four cases, where each case represents a production system design project. The consideration of reconfigurability and its characteristics in the production system design projects was studied. To enhance validity, two real-time studies were combined with two retrospective studies (Leonard-Barton). Findings - For more than a decade foresight reports have pointed out the need for responsiveness to change through reconfigurability in production system design. In order to achieve reconfigurable production systems, three challenges were identified: to use a structured design methodology, to gain knowledge in reconfigurability and its characteristics, and to include the reconfigurability knowledge in a structured design methodology. Still there is no comprehensive support available for reconfigurability in the production system design process. Research limitations/implications - Limitations are mostly related to the chosen methodology approach, and additional empirical studies to establish generic results are required. Practical implications - By combining knowledge from the production system design field with the reconfigurable manufacturing system field a potential of meeting identified challenges is pointed out. Originality/value - This paper adds to current knowledge by pointing out three main challenges to achieving reconfigurable production systems. The paper also contributes with ideas on how to respond to these challenges.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 7, 998-1018 p.
Keyword [en]
Production system design, reconfigurability, review, challenges, manufacturing
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-15079DOI: 10.1108/JMTM-02-2012-0021Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84885825915OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-15079DiVA: diva2:542189
Available from: 2012-07-30 Created: 2012-07-30 Last updated: 2015-11-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Supporting the Design of Reconfigurable Production Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Supporting the Design of Reconfigurable Production Systems
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

To compete, manufacturing companies need production systems that quickly can respond to changes. To handle change drivers such as volume variations or new product variants, reconfigurability is advocated as a competitive means. This implies an ability to add, remove, and/or rearrange the structure of the production system to be ready for future changes. Still, it is not clear how the production system design process can capture and support the design of reconfigurable production systems. Therefore, the objective of this thesis is to increase the knowledge of how to support the design of reconfigurable production systems.

Reconfigurability could be defined by a number of reconfigurability characteristics including convertibility, scalability, automatibility, mobility, modularity, integrability, and diagnosability. In eight case studies, reconfigurability characteristics in production system design were studied in order to investigate reconfigurability needs, knowledge, and practice in manufacturing companies. In three of the case studies reconfigurable production systems were studied to identify the links between change drivers and reconfigurability characteristics. In the remaining five case studies, reconfigurability in the production system design processes was addressed in terms of needs, prerequisites, and consideration.

Based on the literature review and the case studies, support for reconfigurable production system design is suggested including two parts. The first part comprises support for analyzing the need for reconfigurability. Based on relevant change drivers the need for reconfigurability must be identified to enable selection of right type and degree of reconfigurability for each specific case of application. A comprehensive view of the reconfigurability characteristics is presented and links between change drivers and reconfigurability characteristics are described. The characteristics are divided into critical characteristics, that lead to a capacity or functionality change of the production system, and supporting characteristics, that reduce system reconfiguration time but do not necessarily lead to a modification of functionality or capacity of the production system. The second part provides support in how to consider reconfigurability in the production system design process. A holistic perspective is crucial to design reconfigurable production systems and therefore constituent parts of a production system are described. According to their character physical, logical, and human reconfiguration must be considered through the whole production system design process.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2012
Series
Mälardalen University Press Dissertations, ISSN 1651-4238 ; 130
Keyword
production system, manufacturing system, design process, industrialization, reconfigurability, reconfigurable manufacturing system, RMS, mobility, case study, manufacturing industry
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-15131 (URN)978-91-7485-079-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-10-11, Filen, Smedjegatan 37, Eskilstuna, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
XPRES - Initiative for excellence in production research
Available from: 2012-08-20 Created: 2012-08-20 Last updated: 2015-01-22Bibliographically approved

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