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Article
Publication date: 14 June 2021

Vennan Sibanda, Khumbulani Mpofu and John Trimble

In manufacturing, dedicated machine tools and flexible machine tools are failing to satisfy the ever-changing manufacturing demands of short life cycles and dynamic nature…

Abstract

Purpose

In manufacturing, dedicated machine tools and flexible machine tools are failing to satisfy the ever-changing manufacturing demands of short life cycles and dynamic nature of products. These machines are limited when new product designs are introduced. The solution lies in developing responsive machines that can be adjusted or be changed functionally when these change requirements arise. These machines are reconfigurable machines which are becoming the new focus, as they rapidly respond to product variety and volume changes. A sheet metal working machine known as a reconfigurable guillotine shear and bending press machine (RGS&BPM) has been developed. The purpose of this paper is to present a methodology, function-oriented design approach (FODA), which was developed for the design of the RGS&BPM.

Design/methodology/approach

The design of the machine is based on the six principles of reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMSs), namely, modularity, scalability integrability, convertibility, diagnosability and customisability. The methodology seeks to optimise the design process of the RGS&BPM through a design of modules that make up the machine, enable its conversion and reconfiguration. The FODA is focussed on function identification to select the operational function required. Two main functions are recognised for the machine, these being cutting and bending; hence, the design revolves around these two and reconfigurability.

Findings

The developed design methodology was tested in the design of a prototype for the reconfigurable guillotine shear and bending press machine. The prototype is currently being manufactured and will be subjected to functional tests once completed. This paper is being presented not only to present the methodology by to show and highlight its practical applicability, as the prototype manufacturers have been enthusiastic about this new approach.

Research limitations/implications

The research was limited to the design methodology for the RGS&BPM, the machine which has been designed to completion using this methodology, with prototype being manufactured.

Practical implications

This study presents critical steps and considerations in the development of reconfigurable machines. The main thrust being to explore the best possibility of developing the machines with dual functionality that will assist in availing the technology to manufacturer. As the machine has been development, the success of the design can be directly attributed to the FODA methodology, among other contributing factors. It also highlights the significance of the principles of RMS in reconfigurable machine design.

Social implications

The RGS&BM machine is an answer for the small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs), as the machine replaces two machines with one, and the methodology ensures its affordable design. It contributes immensely to the machine availability by eliminating trial and error approaches.

Originality/value

This study presents a new approach to the design of reconfigurable dual machines using principles of RMS. As the targeted market is the SME, it is not limited to that as any entrepreneur may use the machine to their advantage. The design methodology presented contributes to the body of knowledge in dual reconfigurable machine tool design.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 30 December 2019

Vennan Sibanda, Khumbulani Mpofu, John Trimble and Mufaro Kanganga

Reconfigurable machines tools (RMTs) are gaining momentum as the new solutions to customised products in the manufacturing world. The driving force, among others, behind…

Abstract

Purpose

Reconfigurable machines tools (RMTs) are gaining momentum as the new solutions to customised products in the manufacturing world. The driving force, among others, behind these machines is the part envelope and the part family of products that they can produce. The purpose of this paper is to propose a new class of RMT known as a reconfigurable guillotine shear and bending press machine (RGS&BPM). A part family of products that this machine can produce is developed using hierarchical clustering methodologies. The development of these part families is guided by the relationship of the parts in the family in terms of complexity and geometry.

Design/methodology/approach

Part families cannot be developed in isolation, but that process has to incorporate the machine modules used in the reconfiguration process for producing the parts. Literature was reviewed, and group technology principles explored, to develop a concept that can be used to develop the part families. Matrices were manipulated to generate part families, and this resulted in the development of a dendrogram of six possible part families. A software with a graphic user interface for manipulation was also developed to help generate part families and machine modules. The developed concept will assist in the development of a machine by first developing the part family of products and machine modules required in the variable production process.

Findings

The developed concepts assist in the development of a machine by first developing the part family of products and machine modules required in the variable production process. The development of part families for the RGS&BPM is key to developing the machine work envelope and modules to carry out the work. This work has been presented to demonstrate the importance of machine development in conjunction with a part family of products that the machine will produce. The paper develops an approach to manufacturing where part families of products are developed prior to developing the machine. The families of products are then used to develop modules that enable the manufacture of the parts and subsequently the size of the machine.

Research limitations/implications

The research was limited to the development of part families for a new RGS&BPM, which is still under development.

Practical implications

The study reflects the development of reconfigurable machines as a solution to manufacturing challenges in terms of group technology approaches adopted in the design phase. It also highlights the significance of the concepts in the reconfigurable machine tool design. The part families define the machine work envelop and its reconfiguration capability.

Social implications

The success of the research will usher an alternative to smaller players in sheet metal work. It will contribute to the easy development of the machine that will bridge the high cost of machine tools.

Originality/value

The study contributes to the new approach in sheet metal manufacturing where dedicated machines may be substituted by a highly flexible reconfigurable machine that has a dual operation, making the investment for small to medium enterprises affordable. It also contributes to the body of knowledge in reconfigurable machine development and the framework for such activities, especially in developing countries.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. 18 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 18 January 2008

Aditya Kelkar and Bahattin Koc

The objective of this paper is to develop geometric algorithms and planning strategies to enable the development of a novel hybrid manufacturing process, which combines…

Abstract

Purpose

The objective of this paper is to develop geometric algorithms and planning strategies to enable the development of a novel hybrid manufacturing process, which combines rapidly re‐configurable mold tooling and multi‐axis machining.

Design/methodology/approach

The presented hybrid process combines advantages of both reconfigurable molding and machining processes. The mold's re‐configurability is based on the concept of using an array of discrete pins. By positioning the pins, the reconfigurable molding process allows forming the mold cavity directly from the object's 3D design model, without any human intervention. After a segment of the part is molded using the reconfigurable molding process, a multi‐axis machining operation is used to create accurate parts with better surface finish. Geometric algorithms are developed to decompose the design model into segments based on the part's moldability and machinability. The decomposed features are used for planning the reconfigurable molding and the multi‐axis machining operations.

Findings

Computer implementation and illustrative examples are also presented in this paper. The results showed that the developed algorithms enable the proposed hybrid re‐configurable molding and multi‐axis machining process. The developed decomposition and planning algorithms are used for planning the reconfigurable molding and the multi‐axis machining operations. Owing to the decomposition strategy, more geometrically complex parts can be fabricated using the developed hybrid process.

Originality/value

This paper presents geometric analysis and planning to enable the development of a novel hybrid manufacturing process, which combines rapidly re‐configurable mold tooling and multi‐axis machining. It is expected that the proposed hybrid manufacturing process can produce highly customized parts with better surface finish, and part accuracy, with shorter build times, and reduced setup and tooling costs.

Details

Rapid Prototyping Journal, vol. 14 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1355-2546

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Article
Publication date: 6 July 2015

Samir Mekid and M. Shang

The purpose of this paper is to discuss an example of modelling with experiments of robot prototype with dependent joint concept, including a full description of related…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss an example of modelling with experiments of robot prototype with dependent joint concept, including a full description of related functionalities. Reduction in active degrees of freedom in a machine can lead to improved accuracy, improved reliability and lower cost. The reconfiguration of machines and systems is a key technology for future responsive manufacturing systems. The concept of dependent joints helps to implement much specified sub-workspaces depending on functional needs in the machine.

Design/methodology/approach

This is inherently made possible using smart mechanical concepts having embedded sensors and reconfigurable control systems. This paper introduces structural reconfiguration systems and discusses a sample approach to functional reconfiguration.

Findings

A successful manipulator design with extended features when considering reduction in active degrees of freedom in a machine would lead to specific sub-workspace with improved accuracy, improved reliability and lower cost.

Research limitations/implications

Reduction in active degrees of freedom in a machine can lead not only towards a dedicated functional workspace but also towards improved accuracy, improved reliability and lower cost.

Originality/value

This paper is of value to engineers and researchers developing robotic manipulators for use in various aspects of industry.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, vol. 13 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

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Article
Publication date: 21 October 2013

Carin Rösiö and Kristina Säfsten

– The purpose of this paper is to explore theoretical and practical challenges to achieve reconfigurable production system designs.

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1348

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore theoretical and practical challenges to achieve reconfigurable production system designs.

Design/methodology/approach

The empirical material of this paper includes a multiple-case study with an embedded design (Yin) including four cases, where each case represents a production system design project. The consideration of reconfigurability and its characteristics in the production system design projects was studied. To enhance validity, two real-time studies were combined with two retrospective studies (Leonard-Barton).

Findings

For more than a decade foresight reports have pointed out the need for responsiveness to change through reconfigurability in production system design. In order to achieve reconfigurable production systems, three challenges were identified: to use a structured design methodology, to gain knowledge in reconfigurability and its characteristics, and to include the reconfigurability knowledge in a structured design methodology. Still there is no comprehensive support available for reconfigurability in the production system design process.

Research limitations/implications

Limitations are mostly related to the chosen methodology approach, and additional empirical studies to establish generic results are required.

Practical implications

By combining knowledge from the production system design field with the reconfigurable manufacturing system field a potential of meeting identified challenges is pointed out.

Originality/value

This paper adds to current knowledge by pointing out three main challenges to achieving reconfigurable production systems. The paper also contributes with ideas on how to respond to these challenges.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 24 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

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Article
Publication date: 30 July 2019

Kamal Khanna and Rakesh Kumar

The purpose of this paper is to present an organized review of existing research on reconfigurable manufacturing system (RMS). The paper considers majority of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present an organized review of existing research on reconfigurable manufacturing system (RMS). The paper considers majority of the prominent research articles in the domain of RMS published ever since RMS was envisaged in 1997.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper systematically reviews, classifies and analyses the published literature on postulations and design of RMSs. The general observations from the literature and research gaps recognized thereon are highlighted at the end of each section/sub-section.

Findings

The paper reveals important aspects related to RMS research since its inception. It also recognizes the areas of RMS research requiring more focus. The study also highlights open issues and future directions for further research.

Practical implications

The literature in the domain of RMS has so far been narrow. This paper reviews the prominent research in this field and presents an overview of its conceptual developments and various mathematical models for the RMS design and its optimization so far developed by the researchers. Further, manufacturing advancements and future directions have also been proposed for the efficient execution of RMS paradigm in manufacturing industries.

Originality/value

The paper provides an organized listing of published research work in the field of RMS. This work will provide an insight to the researchers, practitioners and others related directly or indirectly to this field to develop and understand better strategies for supervising and controlling the smooth implementation of RMS.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 26 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 18 February 2019

Durga Prasad and S.C. Jayswal

The purpose of this paper is to develop the methodology which can facilitate the concept of reconfiguration in the manufacturing system.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop the methodology which can facilitate the concept of reconfiguration in the manufacturing system.

Design/methodology/approach

Design methodology includes the calculation of similarity matrix, formation of part family, and selection of part family. ALC algorithm has been used for part family formation and three criteria have been considered for the selection of part family. These criteria are reconfiguration effort, under-utilization cost, and floor space cost. AHP has been used to calculate the weights of criteria and reference ideal method has been used for the selection of alternatives.

Findings

In the manufacturing system, machines should be grouped on the basis of reconfiguration cost. When the time period is less, light machines and Group 1 machines are added and removed. In the case study, the concept of reconfiguration is useful for families (A, B, C, D). Machines can be reused by adding/removing some modules of machines. The concept of reconfiguration becomes more useful when it is implemented with lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing techniques Jidoka and Poka-yoke are used to increase the diagnosability of the system.

Practical implications

Industrial case study has been considered.

Social implications

Market competition is increasing rapidly and it increases the demand and variety of products, due to which manufacturing enterprises are forced to adapt a manufacturing system which can adjust its capacity and functionality quickly at low cost. To reconfigure manufacturing system from one product/product family to another product/product family, changes can be done in hardware and/or software components in response to sudden changes in the market or in regulatory requirements.

Originality/value

An integrated approach for reconfiguration has been proposed considering the industrial application. It includes weighted Jaccard function, ALCA, AHP, RIM. The methodology for calculation of reconfiguration effort, under-utilization cost, and floor space cost has been presented for industrial case.

Details

Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 28 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1463-5771

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Article
Publication date: 9 August 2021

Rajesh Pansare, Gunjan Yadav and Madhukar R. Nagare

Uncertainties in manufacturing and changing customer demands force manufacturing industries to adopt new strategies, such as the reconfigurable manufacturing system (RMS)…

Abstract

Purpose

Uncertainties in manufacturing and changing customer demands force manufacturing industries to adopt new strategies, such as the reconfigurable manufacturing system (RMS). To improve the implementation and performance of RMS, it is necessary to review the available literature and identify future trends in this field. This paper aims to analyze existing literature and to see trends in RMS-related research.

Design/methodology/approach

The systematic literature review and analysis of RMS-related research papers from 1999 to 2020 is carried out in this literature. The selected studies are analyzed based on the year of publication, journals, publishers, active authors, research design, countries, enablers, barriers, performance evaluation parameters and universities.

Findings

After the analysis of selected RMS-related research papers, the top countries, universities, journals, publishers and authors are identified in this domain. Research themes and trends in research are identified in this study. Besides, it has been noted that there is a need for further research in this domain and for the creation of a generalized framework that can guide researchers and practitioners to increase RMS adoption.

Practical implications

Research insights, guidance and observations from this paper are provided to RMS-related researchers and practitioners. Important research gaps are identified in this study, which can provide direction for future research and trends in RMS research.

Originality/value

The study presented focuses mainly on the method of collecting, organizing, capturing, interpreting and analyzing data to provide more insight into RMS to identify future trends in research.

Details

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1726-0531

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 June 2010

Chao Lv, AiPing Li and LiYun Xu

The purpose of this paper is to research the impact of hybrid series‐parallel and parallel‐series system configurations on system performances based on system reliability…

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536

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to research the impact of hybrid series‐parallel and parallel‐series system configurations on system performances based on system reliability and to develop a configuration model to meet the requirement of reconfigurable manufacturing system (RMS).

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the criterion of system reliability, a RMS configuration model is presented – the hybrid parallel‐series model with waiting system characteristics. The configuration model is evaluated from reliability, productivity, and cost by combining system engineering theory, Boolean algebra methodology with statistical analysis theory. The model reliability has been used to ameliorate by adopting the integrated algorithm based on Shrama and Misra optimization algorithm.

Findings

The need for application of this method and model – some constraints must be limited, the hybrid parallel‐series configuration is superior and the integrated algorithm is effective to RMS system configuration.

Research limitations/implications

Cost constraints, equipment weight constraints, and function independency of equipment are main limitations.

Practical implications

The model and method have been used to ameliorate the reconfigurable automobile parts product line in SH automobile motor company of Shanghai. The operation result illustrates the validity of this configuration model and algorithm.

Originality/value

The new RMSs configuration model has been proposed. The new algorithm is proposed to ameliorate and optimize a reconfigurable product line with the integrated algorithm based on Shrama and Misra algorithm. The actual running effect is significant.

Details

Kybernetes, vol. 39 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0368-492X

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Article
Publication date: 24 June 2019

Isabela Maganha, Cristovao Silva and Luis Miguel D. F. Ferreira

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the current level of reconfigurability implementation and its impact on manufacturing systems’ operational performance empirically.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the current level of reconfigurability implementation and its impact on manufacturing systems’ operational performance empirically.

Design/methodology/approach

This study is based on a questionnaire survey. Statistical analysis procedures were adopted to accomplish its objectives, namely, clustering methods based on cluster centroids. An ANOVA analysis was used to test for cluster differences among the variables.

Findings

The results show that the manufacturing companies surveyed can be divided into three clusters, with different levels of reconfigurability implemented. The implementation of the core characteristics of reconfigurability depends on the product’s complexity and demand variability, in terms of volume and product mix, as these have an impact on the operational performance, in terms of quality, delivery and flexibility.

Research limitations/implications

The data for this survey were collected from manufacturing companies based in Portugal. Therefore, the replication of this questionnaire in other countries is recommended for future research to confirm its findings.

Practical implications

The questionnaire developed could be used by managers to assess the level of reconfigurability of their production systems and for internal/external benchmarking. The findings may help managers to decide which core characteristics should be implemented in their manufacturing systems.

Originality/value

The majority of the research addressing performance issues in reconfigurable manufacturing systems has been applied to case studies. This research reports an empirical investigation using a questionnaire-based methodology to provide generalisable empirical evidence.

Details

Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, vol. 31 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1741-038X

Keywords

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