Equipment selection and evaluation approach for an adaptable assembly line


In an evolving manufacturing sector, decisions about production systems design, reconfiguration and management are critical tasks. In addition, the rapid evolution and underlying uncertainty of market conditions, make these decisions more important and capital intensive. In this paper, we focus our attention on the equipment selection in an adaptable assembly cell where different easy-changeable hardware modules can be arranged around a skeleton architecture to provide different assembly technologies with different execution modes and performances. In this paper we present the architectural framework of a procedure defining the different sequencing of the tasks in relation to alternative execution modes, a possible skeleton architecture and a procedure that, given the selection of the equipment, provides the evaluation of the associated performance to be compared against the capability requests, expressed in terms of volumes and mix of the products. The modularity provided by the considered architecture is also exploited through the possibility of a fast setup of the assembly line, thus allowing the rearrangement and substitution of the different hardware modules to cope with the production of different parts. Both equipment cost and performance are taken into consideration to identify the most promising configurations. A testing of the approach through the application to a realistic case is also provided. © 2016