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Article
Publication date: 28 September 2010

Richard Bloss

The paper aims to review automated assembly technology at the Assembly Technology Expo.

Abstract

Purpose

The paper aims to review automated assembly technology at the Assembly Technology Expo.

Design/methodology/approach

Assembly Expo is the feature show, which is combined with five other manufacturing, shows in Chicago at the same venue. In‐depth interviews with exhibitors of automated systems, system integrators as well as suppliers of related components motion elements, laser markers were conducted.

Findings

Automated assembly cells continue to be more flexible, modular, as well as better suited for smaller lot orders and include more real time inspection capabilities.

Practical implications

Users who investigated automated assembly solutions in the past and found they did not meet applications requirements may find it is time to revisit automation.

Originality/value

The paper shows that automated system builders and system integrators are providing more suitable solutions that can better address application needs in a more cost‐effective manner than ever before.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 30 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 October 2019

Yicong Gao, Chuan He, Bing Zheng, Hao Zheng and Jianrong Tan

Complexity is the main challenge for present and future manufacturers. Assembly complexity heavily affects a product’s final quality in the fully automated assembly system

Abstract

Purpose

Complexity is the main challenge for present and future manufacturers. Assembly complexity heavily affects a product’s final quality in the fully automated assembly system. This paper aims to propose a new method to assess the complexity of modern automated assembly system at the assembly design stage with respect to the characteristics of both manufacturing system and each single component to be mounted. Aiming at validating the predictive model, a regression model is additionally presented to estimate the statistic relationship between the real assembly defect rate and predicted complexity of the fully automated assembly system.

Design/methodology/approach

The research herein extends the S. N. Samy and H. A. ElMaraghy’s model and seeks to redefine the predictive model using fuzzy evaluation against a fully automated assembly process at the assembly design stages. As the evaluation based on the deterministic scale with accurate crisp number can hardly reflect the uncertainty of the judgement, fuzzy linguistic variables are used to measure the interaction among influence factors. A dependency matrix is proposed to estimate the assembly complexity with respect to the interactions between mechanic design, electric design and process factors and main functions of assembly system. Furthermore, a complexity attributes matrix of single part is presented, to map the relationship between all individual parts to be mounted and three major factors mentioned in the dependency matrix.

Findings

The new proposed model presents a formal quantification to predict assembly complexity. It clarifies that how the attributes of assembly system and product components complicate the assembly process and in turn influence the manufacturing performance. A center bolt valve in the camshaft of continue variable valve timing is used to demonstrate the application of the developed methodology in this study.

Originality/value

This paper presents a developed method, which can be used to improve the design solution of assembly concept and optimize the process flow with the least complexity.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 39 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 2 August 2011

Richard Bloss

The purpose of this paper is to review the automated assembly technology at the Assembly and Automation Expo. While assembly is the feature show, it combines with…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the automated assembly technology at the Assembly and Automation Expo. While assembly is the feature show, it combines with manufacturing of electronics, plastics and medical devices at the same venue.

Design/methodology/approach

In‐depth interviews with exhibitors of automated systems, system integrators as well as suppliers of related components motion elements, laser markers.

Findings

Automated assembly continues to become more flexible, modular, as well as better suited for smaller lot orders and includes more real‐time inspection capabilities.

Originality/value

The paper shows that new products to be assembled are driving those who provide automated assembly systems to create better solutions. These include solutions that are more cost‐effective, faster and include more quality assessment and tracking as part of the automation.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 31 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 1993

David Little and Andrew Hemmings

Today's market environment is characterized by an increasing demand for greater product variety. This has inevitably led to decreased product life cycle and forced volume…

Abstract

Today's market environment is characterized by an increasing demand for greater product variety. This has inevitably led to decreased product life cycle and forced volume manufacturers to consider switching from the mass production of a limited range of products to lower volume production of a wider range. This trend is observable in moves towards lean production within the car industry.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 13 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 2001

Juhani Heilala and Paavo Voho

Market turbulence forces assembly plants to constantly adjust their production volume of products, variants and quantities. At the same time, assembly plant managers must…

Abstract

Market turbulence forces assembly plants to constantly adjust their production volume of products, variants and quantities. At the same time, assembly plant managers must protect long‐term investments in the flexible assembly system. For reconfigurability and agility the best solution is the modular semi‐automatic approach by combining flexible automation and human skills. It gives managers possibility to adjust volume by adding new modules or to automate the manual tasks step by step. The control of material handling and information flow in the agile assembly system is important. To keep flexibility, the combination of an intelligent pallet, i.e. use of escort memory, carrying a single product together with other hardware providing paperless production even supports a lot size of one. The article shows how to create flexible capability and capacity in the final assembly systems.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2001

Richard Bloss

Describes how suppliers are integrating small metal part production and automated assembly to achieve a variety of benefits. By linking stamping and forming of metal parts…

Abstract

Describes how suppliers are integrating small metal part production and automated assembly to achieve a variety of benefits. By linking stamping and forming of metal parts with an automated assembly system, firms like US Baird, Bodine, Oberg, Bihler and others are cutting costs, saving floor space and improving quality.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2008

Richard Bloss

The purpose of this paper is to review the 2007 ATExpo Show and related Electronics Assembly Show, Quality, PlasTec and National Manufacturing Week Shows held jointly in Chicago.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the 2007 ATExpo Show and related Electronics Assembly Show, Quality, PlasTec and National Manufacturing Week Shows held jointly in Chicago.

Design/methodology/approach

In‐depth interviews were conducted with exhibitors who provide assembly systems, controls, grippers and other assembly systems components.

Findings

Though automated assembly has been around many decades, suppliers have continued to innovate new technologies, controllers and software that enhance the automated assembly process.

Originality/value

The paper is of value in confirming that suppliers are continuing to develop assembly cells, modular elements, software and other related components that help make the design and commissioning of systems faster and cheaper. Automated assembly is a truly competitive approach to reducing cost of assembly, quality of products produced and efficiently managing resources.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 3 February 2020

Humyun Fuad Rahman, Mukund Nilakantan Janardhanan and Peter Nielsen

Optimizing material handling within the factory is one of the key problems of modern assembly line systems. The purpose of this paper is to focus on simultaneously…

Abstract

Purpose

Optimizing material handling within the factory is one of the key problems of modern assembly line systems. The purpose of this paper is to focus on simultaneously balancing a robotic assembly line and the scheduling of material handling required for the operation of such a system, a topic that has received limited attention in academia. Manufacturing industries focus on full autonomy because of the rapid advancements in different elements of Industry 4.0 such as the internet of things, big data and cloud computing. In smart assembly systems, this autonomy aims at the integration of automated material handling equipment such as automated guided vehicles (AGVs) to robotic assembly line systems to ensure a reliable and flexible production system.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper tackles the problem of designing a balanced robotic assembly line and the scheduling of AGVs to feed materials to these lines such that the cycle time and total tardiness of the assembly system are minimized. Because of the combination of two well-known complex problems such as line balancing and material handling and a heuristic- and metaheuristic-based integrated decision approach is proposed.

Findings

A detailed computational study demonstrates how an integrated decision approach can serve as an efficient managerial tool in designing/redesigning assembly line systems and support automated transportation infrastructure.

Originality/value

This study is beneficial for production managers in understanding the main decisional steps involved in the designing/redesigning of smart assembly systems and providing guidelines in decision-making. Moreover, this study explores the material distribution scheduling problems in assembly systems, which is not yet comprehensively explored in the literature.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 40 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2013

Giulio Rosati, Maurizio Faccio, Andrea Carli and Aldo Rossi

Flexible automated assembly is an emerging need in several industries. The purpose of this paper is to address the introduction of an innovative concept in flexible…

Abstract

Purpose

Flexible automated assembly is an emerging need in several industries. The purpose of this paper is to address the introduction of an innovative concept in flexible assembly: the fully flexible assembly system (F‐FAS).

Design/methodology/approach

After an analysis of the state of the art, the authors describe the proposed F‐FAS, from a layout, constitutional elements, functioning principles and working cycle point of view. Second, the authors compare the traditional FAS and the manual assembly system versus the proposed F‐FAS according to their throughput and unit production costs, deriving a convenience map as a function of the number of components used in assembly and of the efficiency of the F‐FAS. Finally, using a prototype work cell developed at the Robotics Laboratory of University of Padua, the authors validate the F‐FAS concept.

Findings

Results of the research indicate that the concept of full‐flexibility can be exploited to bring automation to a domain where traditional FAS are not competitive versus manual assembly. In fact, the F‐FAS outperforms both traditional FAS and manual assembly, in terms of unit direct production costs, when the size of the batch is small, the number of components used in assembly is large and the efficiency of the F‐FAS is reasonably high. The F‐FAS prototype demonstrated the possibility of working, for certain conditions (models/components/production mix), in the F‐FAS convenience area, highlighting the achievable cost reduction versus traditional assembly systems.

Originality/value

The novelty of the study lies in the F‐FAS concept, its performances in terms of flexibility, compactness, throughput and unit direct production costs. A prototype work cell validated the concept and demonstrated its viability versus traditional assembly systems, thanks to convenience analysis.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 27 February 2007

Richard Bloss

To review the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago with emphasis on innovations in applying automation to manufacturing and assembly.

Abstract

Purpose

To review the International Manufacturing Technology Show in Chicago with emphasis on innovations in applying automation to manufacturing and assembly.

Design/methodology/approach

In‐depth interviews with exhibitors of automated assembly and manufacturing technology.

Findings

Building of production machinery is moving toward offering automated assembly or production cells and away from building single purpose equipment. Robots are married to machine tools for much more than just tending.

Practical implications

Users in almost any manufacturing realm will find that automated assembly technologies are now addressing all types of production requirements. No longer is it necessary to think only million off part runs can be produced in an automated manner. Machine tool builders are including testing, finishing, marking, assembly and other secondary operations within the basic machining unit for a wide range of production volumes.

Originality/value

Illustrates that automation can even be applied to “made to order” type production.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 27 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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