SUNConferences, COMA '13

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The Design of Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems for Product Mass Customisation
Jared Padayachee, Glen Bright

Last modified: 2013-08-21


The concept of Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMSs) was formulated due to the global necessity for production systems that are able to economically evolve according to changes in markets and products. Technologies and design methods are under development to enable RMSs to exhibit transformable system layouts, reconfigurable processes, cells and machines. The principle of design for reconfigurability, which is prevalent in RMS technologies that have been developed to date, makes RMSs an economically attractive type of system for product mass customization. Existing factory design methods and software have not advanced to include the concepts of reconfigurable machines and processes. Consequently, neither have design methods and tools been applied to the design of mass customisation manufacturing systems, based on principles of reconfigurable manufacturing.

The paper will present a framework for a software system that will be used to optimally design RMSs for high variety and mass customisation manufactuirng. The framework uses part family and feature customisation parameters to automatically generate candidate RMS configurations. The framework implements a Genetic Algorithm for the optimisation of randomly generated solutions and the evolution engine incorporates a discrete system simulator for the evaluation stage of the algorithm. The simulator is based on the DEVS, (Discrete Event System Specification), formalism and is used to assess the dynamic behaviour of a candidate configuration in response to a changing production schedule and customer configured products.

Keywords:       Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems, Discrete System Simulation, Genetic Algorithms, Manufacturing System Design, Mass Customisation Manufacturing.

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