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Chapter: Automation, Production Systems, and Computer Integrated Manufacturing - Flexible Manufacturing Systems

Flexible Manufacturing Systems

FMS technology can be applied in situations similar to those identified for group technology and cellular manufacturing; specifically, Presently, the plant either (1) produces parts in batches or (2) uses manned GT cells and management wants to automate .


Flexible Manufacturing Systems

 

CONTENTS

 

 

1. What is an FMS?

 What Makes It Flexible?

 TypesofFMS

 

2. FMS Components

 Workstations

 Material Handlingand Storage System

 ComputerControl System

 Human Resources

 

3. FMS Applications and Benefits

 FMS Applications

 FMSBenefits

 

4. FMS Planning and Implementation Issues

 FMS Planning and Design Issues

 FMS Operational Issues

 

5. QuantitativeAnalysisof Flexible ManufacturingS ystems

 Bottleneck Model

 Extended Bottleneck Model

Sizing the FMS

What the Equations Tell Us

 

 

 

The flexible manufacturing system (FMS) was identified in machine the last chapter as one of the cell types used to implement group technology. It is most automated and technologically scheme sophisticated of the GT cells. In our classification for manufacturing system (Section 13.2), an FMS typically possesses multiple automated stations and is capable of variable routings among stations (type II A).1 Its flexibility allows it to operate as a mixed model system (case X for part or product variety). An FMS integrates into one highly automated manufacturing system many of the concepts and technologies discussed in previous chapters, including: flexible automation (Section 1.3.1), CNC machines (Chapters 6 and 14),distributed computer control (Section 6.3), automated material handling and storage (Chapters 10 and ll).and group technology (Chapter 15).The concept for FMSs originated in Britain in the early 1960s (Historical Note 16.1).The first FMS installations in the United States were made starting around 19b7.These initial systems performed machining operations on families of parts using NC machine tools.

 

FMS technology can be applied in situations similar to those identified for group technology and cellular manufacturing; specifically, 

   Presently, the plant either (1) produces parts in batches or (2) uses manned GT cells and management wants to automate .

   It must be possible to group a portion of the parts made in the plant into part families. whose similarities permit them to be processed on the machines in the FMS.

 

Part similarities can be interpreted to mean that (1) the parts belong to a common product, and/or (2) the parts possess similar geometries. In either case. the processing requirements of the parts must be sufficiently similar to allow them to be made on the FMS.

 

   The parts or products made by the facility are in the mid-volume, mid-variety production range. The appropriate production volume range is 500075,000 part/yr. If annual production is below this range, than FMS is likely to be an expensive alternative. If' production volume is above this range, then a more specialized production system should probably be considered

 

The differences between implementing a manually operated machine cell and installing an FMS are: (1) the FMS requires a significantly greater capital investment because new equipment is being installed rather than existing equipment being rearranged. and (2) the FMS is technologically more sophisticated for the human resources who must make it work. However, the potential benefits are substantial. The benefits that can be expected from an FMS include:

 

   increased  machine  utilization

 

   fewer machines  required

 

   reduction  in factory  floor  space required

 

   greater  responsiveness   to change

 

   reduced  inventory  requirements

 

   lower manufacturing   lead times

 

   reduced  direct  labor  requirements   and higher  labor  productivity

 

   opportunity  for unattended   production

 

We elaborate     on these  benefits     in Section    16.3.2.

 

In this chapter, we define and discuss flexible FMSs: what makes them flexible, their components, their applications, and considerations for implementing the technology. In the final section, we present a mathematical model for assessing the performance of FMSs.

 

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