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Integrated design environment for reusable modular assembly systems

Pedro Ferreira (Loughborough University, Loughborough, England)
Paul Danny Anandan (Loughborough University, Loughborough, England)
Ivo Pereira (Loughborough University, Loughborough, England)
Vikrant Hiwarkar (Loughborough University, Loughborough, England)
Mohmed Sayed (Loughborough University, Loughborough, England)
Niels Lohse (Loughborough University, Loughborough, England)
Susana Aguiar (Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal)
Gil Gonçalves (Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal)
Joana Gonçalves (FEUP-Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade do Porto, Porto, Portugal)
Fabian Bottinger (Fraunhofer-Institut fur Produktionstechnik und Automatisierung, Stuttgart, Germany)

Assembly Automation

ISSN: 0144-5154

Article publication date: 12 June 2019

Issue publication date: 3 October 2019




This paper aims to provide a service-based integrated prototype framework for the design of reusable modular assembly systems (RMAS) incorporating reusability of equipment into the process. It extends AutomationML (AML) developments for an engineering data exchange to integrate and standardize the data formats that support the design of RMAS.


The approach provides a set of systematic procedures and support tools for the design of RMAS. This includes enhanced domain knowledge models that facilitate the interpretation and integration of information across the design phases.


The inclusion of reusability aspects in the design phase improves the sustainability of future assembly systems, by ensuring equipment use until its end-of-life. Moreover, the integrated support tools reduce the design time, while improving the quality/performance of the system design solution, as it enables the exploration of a larger solution space. This will result in a better response to dynamic and rapidly changing system requirements.

Social implications

This work provides a sustainable approach for the design of modular assembly systems (MAS), which will ensure better resource utilization. Additionally, the standardization of the data and the support of low cost tools is expected to benefit industrial companies, particularly the small- and medium-sized enterprises.


This approach offers a service-based platform which uses production data to incorporate reusability aspects into the design process of modular assembly system. Moreover, it provides a framework for modular assembly system design by extending the current design processes and interactions between stakeholders. To support this, a standardized method for information representation and exchange across the several phases of the RMAS design activity is briefly illustrated with an industrial case study.



The reported work is partially funded by the European Commission as part of the CP-FP 609223 ReBorn project. The support is gratefully acknowledged.


Ferreira, P., Anandan, P.D., Pereira, I., Hiwarkar, V., Sayed, M., Lohse, N., Aguiar, S., Gonçalves, G., Gonçalves, J. and Bottinger, F. (2019), "Integrated design environment for reusable modular assembly systems", Assembly Automation, Vol. 39 No. 4, pp. 664-672.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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