Reconfigurable Manufacturing System

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The dynamic nature of market and the increasing variations in customers need for customised products of different purposes has given rise to a blustery manufacturing system. Manufacturing systems have to swing so as to meet up with the customer?s vigorous demand. Over the years the development of products have been seen from the point of angle of functionality, user?s satisfaction, and optimality. However recent activities in the field of manufacturing span into design for easy assembly and disassembly, multi-functionality, future change in design for adaptability, ergonomics, environmental sustainability, effective cost enhancement and lots more. In essence manufacturing systems undergo a stormy and vibrant shift in equipment and processes required for manufacturing and assembly. In this paper, the various manufacturing systems that have been implemented in the industries are reviewed and the drivers that led to the development of reconfigurable manufacturing system were analysed. In addition a categorization was developed that narrowed manufacturing system straight to the level of reconfigurability.

Keyword: Manufacturing systems, Reconfiguration, Reconfigurable manufacturing systems, Design?

Modern day manufacturing systemsfaces a socio-techno-economic scenario which makes it to operates at the verge of anarchy due to globalisation, abrupt world economy, increased competition, unanticipated market comportment, intensified demand for customised and personalized products, unconditional product value, squatter time to market and reduced product life cycle (peter, 2013). In the past manufacturing was usually carried out by a single skilled artisan with assistants, during this period training was by internship. The use of simple tools and massive range of human activity, from handcraft to high technology, were employed in industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a smaller scale.
There are several drivers which dictate the conditions that lead to changing from one manufacturing system to another as times goes on in the manufacturing system. According to (Chaube, 2009), these factors can be summarised as economy and financial restraints, consumer?s demands, socio-governmental influences,location and market rivalry. These drivers may lead to slight part design modifications, introduction of new parts, phasing out of current parts, the increase or decrease in volume of each part and changes in quality specifications. The result of such change is the upgrading of the technology, the network structure and the human resources of an organisation to sustain itself in such a capricious environment.

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