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Drivers of complexity in a flexible assembly system- A case study
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3560-9372
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation. Volvo Construction Equipment, Eskilstuna.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4308-2678
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3187-7932
2015 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation with published abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Various ever-changing market demands have propelled manufacturing companies to offer product variety in an efficient and timely manner. Assembly as a key stage of manufacturing process is used to realise product variety through establishing mixed-product assembly systems. Although establishing a flexible mixed-product assembly system which both offers product variety and absorbs market demands fluctuation is pivotal for maintaining competitive edge in certain industries such as vehicle manufacturing, it is also considered an elaborate task which calls for further investigation. In this paper, complexity in a flexible mixed-product assembly line is investigated and the key drivers of complexity are identified. To fulfil the research objective, a case study during the pilot implementation of a flexible mixed-product assembly concept in a heavy vehicle manufacturing company has been conducted. The results indicate the key factors concerning assembly process, product design, and information and communication technology (ICT) which contribute to complexity in the flexible assembly system. The paper concludes with an outlook for possible future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. p. 189-194
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27851DOI: 10.1016/j.procir.2015.12.082ISI: 000379247600032Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84968902339OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-27851DiVA: diva2:806078
Conference
CIRP CMS 2015 - 48th CIRP Conference on MANUFACTURING SYSTEMS, 24-26 June 2015, Ischia (Naples), Italy
Available from: 2015-04-17 Created: 2015-04-17 Last updated: 2016-08-18Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Supporting flexibility in an assembly system through product design
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Supporting flexibility in an assembly system through product design
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Increasing customer demands for product variety in conjunction with the short lifecycle of products has caused manufacturing companies to introduce a wide range of products by accommodating flexibility. An assembly system is an essential part of the manufacturing system from both cost and time perspectives. Hence, the shift towards flexibility in manufacturing companies highlights the significance of establishing flexible assembly systems and designing products that are closely aligned with them. Despite its significance, however, the flexible assembly system concept and its requirements for product design have not been clearly defined in research and from a practical point of view. Most research on flexible assembly systems has mainly approached either the design or the balancing and scheduling issues of these systems, whereas only a few studies have briefly defined the flexible assembly system they focused on, without further specifying the characteristics of a flexible assembly system and its requirements for product design.

Taking that into account, the objective of this work is to provide a framework to contribute to the understanding of the concept of flexibility in an assembly system and its requirements for product design. In order to fulfil the objective, four empirical studies combined with literature reviews have been conducted. The empirical studies, a multiple case study and three single case studies, investigate the definition of flexibility in an assembly system as well as the requirements that a flexible assembly system imposes on product design.

Through its findings, this research provides a definition of flexibility in assembly systems that mainly revolves around volume, mix and new product flexibility. In addition, six constituents of a flexible assembly system have been identified: adaptable material supply, versatile workforce, increased commonality, standardised work content, integrated product properties and strategic planning. Furthermore, three requirements of a flexible assembly system for product design are defined, which, if fulfilled, reduce the complexity created by product variety and consequently support flexibility in the assembly system. Accordingly, to increase the understanding of the concept of flexibility in an assembly system and its requirements for product design, a four-staged framework is suggested. The proposed framework deals with the activities related to the concept and the development of a flexible assembly system and is expected to be received by assembly practitioners as a link between assembly and product design teams in the product realisation process. Future research can further validate the framework in practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University, 2015
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 206
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-27853 (URN)978-91-7485-207-3 (ISBN)
Presentation
2015-06-12, Filen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-04-23 Created: 2015-04-17 Last updated: 2015-06-01Bibliographically approved

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Asadi, NargesJackson, MatsFundin, Anders

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