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How to improve the use of industrial robots in lean manufacturing systems

Mikael Hedelind (ABB AB, Corporate Research, Västerås, Sweden School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna, Sweden)
Mats Jackson (School of Innovation, Design and Engineering, Mälardalen University, Eskilstuna, Sweden)

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management

ISSN: 1741-038X

Article publication date: 11 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify how industrial robotics fits into lean manufacturing systems. This paper presents results from case studies where Swedish and Japanese manufacturing industries have been compared in order to identify differences on how advanced manufacturing technologies and industrial robotics are utilized.

Design/methodology/approach

The research has been conducted via case studies where researchers from academia have worked together with industrial companies. During the case studies, the results of interviews, observations and data collection in the form of performance measures and historical production data have been analyzed.

Findings

This paper highlights some of the differences between how Swedish and Japanese companies work with industrial robotics. It also proposes some key areas where development could lead to better integration of industrial robotics into lean manufacturing systems.

Originality/value

This research has been performed with the intention of identifying how manufacturing industries could increase their competitiveness through industrial robot automation. The companies involved in the research project have received feedback on their automation solutions. The overall goal is to create a guideline for how to design industrial robotic work cells that can easily be integrated into lean manufacturing systems. This research area is important in order to increase competitiveness in industry. It is thus of value for both industry and the scientific community.

Keywords

Citation

Hedelind, M. and Jackson, M. (2011), "How to improve the use of industrial robots in lean manufacturing systems", Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Vol. 22 No. 7, pp. 891-905. https://doi.org/10.1108/17410381111160951

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited