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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

Content available
Article
Publication date: 17 June 2019

Stephen Fox, Olli Aranko, Juhani Heilala and Päivi Vahala

Exoskeletons are mechanical structures that humans can wear to increase their strength and endurance. The purpose of this paper is to explain how exoskeletons can be used…

Abstract

Purpose

Exoskeletons are mechanical structures that humans can wear to increase their strength and endurance. The purpose of this paper is to explain how exoskeletons can be used to improve performance across five phases of manufacturing.

Design/methodology/approach

Multivocal literature review, encompassing scientific literature and the grey literature of online reports, etc., to inform comprehensive, comparative and critical analyses of the potential of exoskeletons to improve manufacturing performance.

Findings

There are at least eight different types of exoskeletons that can be used to improve human strength and endurance in manual work during different phases of production. However, exoskeletons can have the unintended negative consequence of reducing human flexibility leading to new sources of musculoskeletal disorders (MSD) and accidents.

Research limitations/implications

Findings are relevant to function allocation research concerned with manual production work. In particular, exoskeletons could exacerbate the traditional trade-off between human flexibility and robot consistency by making human workers less flexible.

Practical implications

The introduction of exoskeletons requires careful health and safety planning if exoskeletons are to improve human strength and endurance without introducing new sources of MSD and accidents.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper is that it provides detailed information about a new manufacturing technology: exoskeletons. The value of this paper is that it provides information that is comprehensive, comparative and critical about exoskeletons as a potential alternative to robotics across five phases of manufacturing.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 31 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Juhani Heilala and Paavo Voho

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

Abstract

Market turbulence drives assembly plants to constantly adjust their production volume of products, variants and quantities. At the same time, the assembly plant managers must protect the long‐term investments in the flexible assembly system. The best solution is the modular approach, which gives managers possibilities to adjust volume by adding new modules or to automate the manual system step by step. To keep flexibility, the combination of intelligent pallet, i.e. use of escort memory, and individual product together with other hardware providing paperless production supports even lot size one.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 17 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Content available

Abstract

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 27 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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Article
Publication date: 27 February 2007

Juhani Heilala, Jari Montonen and Kaj Helin

To present theories for total cost of ownership (TCO) methodology in assembly system trade‐off analysis and to show benefits of the methodology as a decision support in…

Abstract

Purpose

To present theories for total cost of ownership (TCO) methodology in assembly system trade‐off analysis and to show benefits of the methodology as a decision support in system selection.

Design/methodology/approach

The developed TCO methodology is a combination of factory simulation, system performance and loss factor evaluation using overall equipment efficiency, system life cycle costing, and assembled unit cost analysis including cost of bad quality and rework.

Findings

The purchase price of equipment is just one cost element in the comparison. TCO shows how important it is to analyse all the cost, direct and indirect, incurred throughout the life cycle of an equipment, including acquisition and installation, operations and maintenance, and end‐of‐life management. TCO methodology pinpoints costs that could be easily underestimated, such as quality and rework as well as all the costs of running the system.

Research limitations/implications

The methodology is partially based on semiconductor industry standards and other asset comparison methodology, which are now integrated and applied also for electromechanical final assembly. Development continues.

Practical implications

The methodology is useful in system integrator and end‐user collaboration, where both can use similar formulae in system evaluation and trade‐off analysis. Integration to component‐based simulation adds system visualisation and simulation analysis and combines system configuration with cost analysis into a tool for the sales engineer.

Originality/value

Integration of different analysis methods improves the quality of decisions. The TCO methodology is a systematic way to analyse system cost and performance issues. With proper use of the TCO methodology it is possible to justify investments to automation and modular re‐configurable hardware.

Details

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

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 20 February 2009

Abstract

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 29 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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