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1 – 10 of over 3000
Article
Publication date: 1 April 2006

Peter Fredriksson

This paper aims to investigate one crucial aspect and inherent difficulty of modular assembly systems, which is how the dispersed activities, resources and organizational…

2583

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to investigate one crucial aspect and inherent difficulty of modular assembly systems, which is how the dispersed activities, resources and organizational units are coordinated with one another and the corresponding effects.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on a subset of the data collected during a four‐year case study of Volvo Car Corporation's modular assembly system. For this particular paper, 15 semi‐structured interviews were conducted with representatives from different functions related to both pre‐ and final assembly activities.

Findings

The paper concludes that the efficiency of a modular assembly system is dependent on the use of several coordination mechanisms, such as the use of plans, standardization and mutual adjustment. The efficiency‐related rationales of activity synchronization, resource sharing, and activity and resource development can then be achieved. These mechanisms should cross the boundaries of the organizational units performing pre‐ and final assembly activities. The efficiency of a modular assembly system thus relies on an integral coordination pattern.

Research limitations/implications

The findings are mainly relevant for companies which design and produce complex products involving several technologies, and which use company‐specific module interfaces.

Practical implications

The importance of using a variety of mechanisms for coordinating activities in modular assembly systems is highlighted. The paper also shows what effects can be obtained by using several coordination mechanisms. For practitioners, the detailed case description may also provide valuable reference material.

Originality/value

The paper highlights how efficiency of a modular assembly system can be achieved through the planning and use of several mechanisms when designing and operating it.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 26 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

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…

2947

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

Article
Publication date: 29 October 2021

Yixiong Feng, Chuan He, Yicong Gao, Hao Zheng and Jianrong Tan

To find the system with minimum investment and best quality performance that is capable of producing all of the product variants, assessing the complexity of designing…

Abstract

Purpose

To find the system with minimum investment and best quality performance that is capable of producing all of the product variants, assessing the complexity of designing assembly system at the early concept stage is an essential step, which helps and instructs a designer to create a product- and system-oriented assembly solution with the least complexity. The purpose of this paper is to propose a quantifying measurement of complexity in the design of a modular automated assembly system.

Design/methodology/approach

The configurable assembly system is becoming a trend, which enables companies to quickly respond to changes caused by different product variants but without a large investment. One of the enabling factors is the availability of modular solutions of assembly modules that can be configured according to different technical requirements. This paper develops a methodology using fuzzy evaluation to calculate the design complexity in the design phase for a modular automatic assembly system. Fuzzy linguistic variables are used to measure the interaction among the influence factors, to deal with the uncertainty of the judgement. The proposed method investigates three matrices to present how the function-based assembly modules, design complexity factors, part attributes and product components, which are regarded as the main influence factors, complicate the construction of a modular assembly system. The design complexity is derived and quantified based on these assessments.

Findings

The proposed approach presents a formal quantification to evaluate the design complexity with regard to a modular assembly system from beginning, which can be identified and used as criteria to indicate the quality of performance and investment cost in advance. A mathematical model based on the fuzzy logic is established to provide both theoretical and practical guidance for the paper. To validate the predictive model, the statistic relationships between the assessed system design complexity, real assembly defect rate and investment cost are estimated based on regression analysis. The application of the presented methodology is demonstrated with regard to a traditional rear drive unit in the automotive industry.

Originality/value

This paper presents a developed method, which addresses the measures of complexity found in the design of a modular assembly system. It would help to run the design process with better resource allocation and cost estimation in a quantitative approach.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 42 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 August 2008

Peng Gaoliang, He Xu, Yu Haiquan, Hou Xin and Khalil Alipour

The virtual design environment offers users an opportunity to interact with a virtual prototyping rather than physical models and to build a fixture configuration in a…

Abstract

Purpose

The virtual design environment offers users an opportunity to interact with a virtual prototyping rather than physical models and to build a fixture configuration in a realistic way. But the virtual reality (VR) environment tends to be inaccurate because humans have difficulty in performing precise positioning tasks. Therefore, it is necessary to implement precise object manipulation methods for assembly and disassembly activities, so that users can perform modular fixture configuration design efficiently in VE. The purpose of this paper is to develop a VR‐based modular fixture assembly design system, which supports the design and assembly of modular fixture configuration in a virtual environment.

Design/methodology/approach

Geometric constraint‐based method is utilized to represent and treat the assembly relationship between modular fixture elements. The paper presents a hybrid method of rule‐based reasoning and fuzzy comprehensive judgment to capture the user's operation intent and recognize geometric constraint. Through degrees of freedom based analysis, a mathematical matrix is presented for representing and reducing allowable motion of fixture elements, and a constraint‐based motion navigation approach is proposed to ensure that the manipulation of a fixture component not violate that the existing constraints.

Findings

The paper finds that the proposed techniques are applicable to the convenient manipulation and accurate positioning of fixture elements in a virtual environment.

Practical implications

Component manipulation plays a key role in interactive virtual assembly design. The proposed approach in this paper enables interactive assembly design of modular fixture in virtual environment.

Originality/value

This paper presents a geometric constraint‐based approach that realizes automatic assembly relationship recognition, constraint solving and motion navigation for interactive modular fixture assembly design in a virtual environment.

Details

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

Keywords

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

Article
Publication date: 1 June 2001

D. Spath and M. Baumeister

The increasing demand for market‐oriented production leads to shorter product life‐cycles, growing product variety and, therefore, changing lot sizes. These critical lot…

4523

Abstract

The increasing demand for market‐oriented production leads to shorter product life‐cycles, growing product variety and, therefore, changing lot sizes. These critical lot sizes vary greatly in number. Because of this, the question of whether or not to prioritize fully automated or manual assembly arises. The intention to meet the requirements of a turbulent market leads to hybrid assembly systems in which automated and manual assembly stations operate together flexibly. This hybrid system, supported by modular structures with defined interfaces and process software, allows a fast reaction to any change in products, variants and lot sizes. Owing to the difficulty in accessing materials, traditional assembly systems have a high contingent of non‐value adding procedures. By collecting materials in advance within one main area and distributing them to the work stations simultaneously for the production of a good, a minimized quantity of material is present on the assembly line, thus making the process more efficient.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 21 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 29 March 2016

Marc Wouters, Susana Morales, Sven Grollmuss and Michael Scheer

The paper provides an overview of research published in the innovation and operations management (IOM) literature on 15 methods for cost management in new product…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper provides an overview of research published in the innovation and operations management (IOM) literature on 15 methods for cost management in new product development, and it provides a comparison to an earlier review of the management accounting (MA) literature (Wouters & Morales, 2014).

Methodology/approach

This structured literature search covers papers published in 23 journals in IOM in the period 1990–2014.

Findings

The search yielded a sample of 208 unique papers with 275 results (one paper could refer to multiple cost management methods). The top 3 methods are modular design, component commonality, and product platforms, with 115 results (42%) together. In the MA literature, these three methods accounted for 29%, but target costing was the most researched cost management method by far (26%). Simulation is the most frequently used research method in the IOM literature, whereas this was averagely used in the MA literature; qualitative studies were the most frequently used research method in the MA literature, whereas this was averagely used in the IOM literature. We found a lot of papers presenting practical approaches or decision models as a further development of a particular cost management method, which is a clear difference from the MA literature.

Research limitations/implications

This review focused on the same cost management methods, and future research could also consider other cost management methods which are likely to be more important in the IOM literature compared to the MA literature. Future research could also investigate innovative cost management practices in more detail through longitudinal case studies.

Originality/value

This review of research on methods for cost management published outside the MA literature provides an overview for MA researchers. It highlights key differences between both literatures in their research of the same cost management methods.

Article
Publication date: 12 June 2019

Pedro Ferreira, Paul Danny Anandan, Ivo Pereira, Vikrant Hiwarkar, Mohmed Sayed, Niels Lohse, Susana Aguiar, Gil Gonçalves, Joana Gonçalves and Fabian Bottinger

This paper aims to provide a service-based integrated prototype framework for the design of reusable modular assembly systems (RMAS) incorporating reusability of equipment…

Abstract

Purpose

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.

Design/methodology/approach

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.

Findings

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.

Originality/value

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.

Article
Publication date: 12 October 2012

David Bennett and Florian Klug

In recent decades the automotive industry has established a variety of new forms of logistics integration between automobile assemblers and their suppliers, in particular…

8143

Abstract

Purpose

In recent decades the automotive industry has established a variety of new forms of logistics integration between automobile assemblers and their suppliers, in particular those in the first tier. The purpose of this paper is to outline which form of logistics integration original equipment manufacturer (OEM) assembly plants use to link up with proximate suppliers, and to classify and compare different types of logistics supplier integration.

Design/methodology/approach

The data and insights for this paper come from a literature review of research and practitioner papers and studies to survey logistics integration models in theory and practice. In addition, data are collected through semi‐structured interviews and site visits.

Findings

The main findings are summarised in five conditions which characterise logistics supplier integration in the automotive industry. These conditions vary significantly between local dedicated supply as discussed in this paper and the traditional supply, which is distant and scattered around suppliers. These main conditions are “geographical proximity”, “delivery contents, volume and sequence”, “shared investment and asset specificity”, “information sharing and information technology system integration” as well as “transport system”. Although all of the five conditions were considered relevant for the description of existing integration forms, only the “geographical proximity” dimension is emerged as most suited for a formal typology. Therefore, a seven‐step integration model was developed which allows for a categorisation and comparison of existing logistics integration forms of proximate supply.

Research limitations/implications

This research aims to support the academic study of cross‐company and inter‐organisational supplier integration by providing consistent criteria for cross‐site comparisons. A holistic and consistent understanding of different logistics integration types will be necessary, which will help in evaluating the actual integration forms such as supplier parks.

Originality/value

The majority of studies into the supplier integration phenomenon conclude that logistical concerns are the driving factor behind supplier co‐location. Therefore, the focus of this research is on the spectrum of vertical integration in logistics between the vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers.

Details

International Journal of Operations & Production Management, vol. 32 no. 11
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-3577

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 1 December 1997

Anna Kochan

Reviews the Prodel modular assembly system which can easily accommodate changes in product design and market demand. Describes the autonomy of the standard assembly module…

440

Abstract

Reviews the Prodel modular assembly system which can easily accommodate changes in product design and market demand. Describes the autonomy of the standard assembly module which can be quickly slipped into, and out of, an assembly line. Outlines applications of the modular system to mobile phone assembly and to bathroom and kitchen tap assembly.

Details

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

Keywords

1 – 10 of over 3000