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Design Process of Flexible Assembly Systems
Mälardalen University, School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Innovation and Product Realisation.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-4059-2664
2015 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Flexible assembly systems have emerged in response to changing markets and increased variety in form of demands of new products and manufacturer’s need for differentiation. Assembly systems play a critical role in handling great variety and adapting to dynamic changes at the same time as securing product quality and productivity. Therefore, assembly systems should be designed to be able to handle changes. However, the design of flexible assembly systems is a challenge because it involves several subjects such as the configuration of the flow, the material handling and the flexibility to handle future changes and adjustment. In addition, time-to-market and time-to-volume are important which means that faster assembly systems designs are required.

The design process of assembly systems concerns the procedures that guide the design work to achieve an assembly system proposal. The design process is divided into a number of stages/phases describing the activities that should be done and when they should be performed as well as the expected result after each phase supporting the decision-making process. Research argues that working in a systematic and structured way is important in order to achieve better assembly systems in shorter time.

However, even though there is extensive research work in regard to flexibility, knowledge is limited concerning the design process of assembly systems. Therefore, the objective of this thesis has been to increase the knowledge about the design of flexible assembly systems by investigating the relation between the assembly system design process and flexibility. The characteristics of flexible assembly systems and how flexibility is considered during the design process have also been studied in this thesis.

Literature reviews were conducted as well as three case studies and one exploratory survey in the manufacturing industry of heavy vehicles. Study I concerns the results of having studied an industrial international project of the design process of a flexible assembly system during two years. In study II, flexibility needs, enablers and challenges in assembly systems were identified. In study III, the mechanism used to achieve flexibility in the assembly systems of two companies were investigated. The exploratory survey study IV, was a pilot study to investigate the relationship between the design process of assembly systems and flexibility based on the association of different variables involved in the design process of flexible assembly systems.

From the holistic perspective adopted in this thesis, the results showed that flexibility should be considered in a comprehensive way during all the design process. The design process of flexible assembly systems is iterative, circumscribed by different conditions, and requires support as well as the participation of different roles and functions to achieve a solution. The increased knowledge generated in the research is expected to lead to future development of working procedures that better can support the design process of flexible assembly systems.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Västerås: Mälardalen University , 2015.
Series
Mälardalen University Press Licentiate Theses, ISSN 1651-9256 ; 218
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Innovation and Design
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-28911ISBN: 978-91-7485-233-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-28911DiVA: diva2:853200
Presentation
2015-10-27, Raspen, Mälardalens högskola, Eskilstuna, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-09-14 Created: 2015-09-11 Last updated: 2015-10-06Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Flexibility Needs and Enablers in Assembly Systems
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Flexibility Needs and Enablers in Assembly Systems
2013 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the research presented in this paper has been to analyze flexibility needs and enablers in assembly systems. The methodology used for the research has been a literature review and a case study at a Swedish manufacturing company. Flexibility as a competitive factor has been shown to be needed in order to satisfy the changing demands, at low cost and with delivery precision. The level of customization and changes in volume also increases the flexibility needs. The results from the case study indicate that there are four flexibility enablers in assembly systems: capacity and production planning, production development, material supply, and work organization. The needs of flexibility should be considered during the design process of the assembly system to respond to changes in product variants and production volumes in a cost-effective way.

Keyword
Flexibility, assembly system, case study
National Category
Engineering and Technology Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-23298 (URN)2-s2.0-84929377598 (Scopus ID)
Conference
ICPR 22, 22nd International Conference on Production Research,Iguassu Falls, Brazil,July 28th - August 1st
Projects
XPRESINNOFACTURE - innovative manufacturing development
Available from: 2013-12-15 Created: 2013-12-10 Last updated: 2015-10-01Bibliographically approved
2. Mixed-Product Assembly Lines: Characteristics and Design Challenges
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Mixed-Product Assembly Lines: Characteristics and Design Challenges
2014 (English)Conference paper, (Refereed)
National Category
Engineering and Technology Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-28910 (URN)
Conference
6th Swedish Production Symposium, SPS14, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Available from: 2015-09-11 Created: 2015-09-11 Last updated: 2015-10-01Bibliographically approved
3. Flexibility in Lean Mixed Model Assembly Lines
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Flexibility in Lean Mixed Model Assembly Lines
2014 (English)In: IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, Vol. 440, 2014, no PART 3, 224-231 p.Conference paper, (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of the research presented in this paper has been to characterize flexibility in lean mixed model assembly lines through exploring mechanisms used to achieve flexibility. The study combines a literature review and a multiple case study in two manufacturing companies. Scenarios of volume, mix and operation flexibility, as well as flexibility to introduce or remove products were studied. The results showed that to achieve flexibility related to these scenarios other kinds of flexibilities were used. Common mechanisms to achieve flexibility have been found in the two cases. A characterization of mixed model assembly lines regarding flexibility will be discussed. 

Keyword
flexibility, lean, Mixed model assembly lines
National Category
Other Engineering and Technologies
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-25978 (URN)10.1007/978-3-662-44733-8_28 (DOI)2-s2.0-84906923655 (Scopus ID)9783662447321 (ISBN)
Conference
IFIP WG 5.7 International Conference on Advances in Production Management Systems, APMS 2014; Ajaccio; France; 20 September 2014 through 24 September 2014
Available from: 2014-09-19 Created: 2014-09-19 Last updated: 2015-10-01Bibliographically approved

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