Flexible Manufacturing Systems Research Papers Example

Type of paper: Research Paper

Topic: Technology, Factory, System, Manufacture, Manufacturing, Business, Cost, Products

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2021/01/02

Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS) is a highly automated Group Technology (GT) machine cell. The cell is a group of machines (usually CNC) that are linked automatically to both a material storage and handling system. FMS operates on GT principles but obviously no cell can be completely flexible, there are limitations. An FMS is structured so as to produce components within a range of shapes, sizes and styles, i.e., similar attributes.
The flexible manufacturing system is further said to be a method of producing goods which adapt readily to the changes in the product that is undergoing production. In this system, the machines can manufacture parts and have the ability of handling varying levels of production. The system thus grants the manufacturing companies an upper hand over others especially in the environments that are changing. The system has a lot of advantages although research shows that it may not be very cost effective. It is because of the high costs that are involved in the development of the system and the obtaining of the sophisticated machinery. An FMS manufacturing never keeps on working even if it is undergoing repairs. It is not like the traditional production system in which a halt in any part will result in the whole system stopping working for maintenance and repairs work to be done (Jha, 2012).
The concept of flexible manufacturing system was started in the 1960s, a time when programmable controllers, robots and computerized numerical controls created an environment that is controlled to the floors of the factories in machines that were numerically-controlled and the direct-numerically-controlled. Mostly, the FMS is limited to the firms that are involved in job shop environments and batch production. The batch producers have two kinds of machinery to choose from: the dedicated machinery or automated and the general-purpose tools. In most cases, the specialized machinery is cost effective but is not flexible whereas the general purposes are costly and may not reach their full capacity (ElMaraghy, 2008).
Group technology works on the concept that it works on similar activities at together, and it standardizes them and stores and retrieves efficient information about particular problems that do recur. It emphasizes the integration of Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) in the manufacturing process (Groover, 2010).
Cellular manufacturing involves the application of group technology in the process of manufacturing whereby all or a portion of the manufacturing system of a firm is converted into cells hence cellular (Groover, 2010).
Second application of the technology is in assembly. The assembly may be for body parts of vehicles, water vessels, air vessels and other automobiles. The assembly is the most practical part in mechanical engineering. In some countries, the assembling of the parts is done by programmed robots and in others it is done manually. Now, there is the FMS technology that has intervened to aid the two. The technology is efficient in the assembling process. This is because, if any part of the machine fails, assembling will still proceed while the repair is done (Jha, 2012).
The FMS technology is also applied in the inspection. Inspection is the final survey and confirmation of a finished product to ensure that it is of the required standard. The finished product is subject to the technology that recommends the potential flaw. If some parts have not been fixed well, then it will detect automatically and recommend the repair or take the product through the repairing process (ElMaraghy, 2008).
Finally, the FMS technology is applied in sheet metal processing. The sheet metal processing includes shearing, punching, bending and forming. Punching involves creating holes of a certain width on the metal sheet whereas bending is the curving of the sheet through a particular angle. The functions are clearly coordinated and carried out using the FMS technology. The above functions majorly take place in sheet rolling mills and others (Ferreira, 2004).
The implementation of FMS technology has both advantages and disadvantages. The benefits in most cases out do the disadvantages. To start, it is faster and cost-efficient. The faster nature of the technology leads to saving time and hence producing more units at a go. Additionally, the cost-efficiency nature makes the technology the best as costs of operation are minimized. This becomes hence useful on the side of the producers and improves capital utilization (ElMaraghy, 2008).
Second, it has lower direct labor costs. This is because of the reduction in the number of workers. A company that employs such technology has no need of having a lot of workers. This is because most tasks are performed by the machines using the technology. Also, there is reduced inventory. The reduced inventory is due to the planning and precision functions and capabilities of the system (Dima, 2013).
There are also savings from the indirect labor. The savings are from rework, reduced errors, repairs, and rejects. The system can do this without having necessary to stop the whole engine and machinery system. Furthermore, there is consistent and better quality of the products. The consistency and the better quality is due to the automated control of the system that makes it work in the most effective and efficient manners (Groover, 2010).
In addition, there is lower cost per unit of the production or output. The lower cost per output is due to the greater productivity with the same number of workers and the integration of the system. If it can lead to a reduced cost per unit of production, then it is the most suitable system of the 21st century where companies are trying all means possible to minimize costs (Jha, 2012).
On the other hand, there are also some disadvantages that are associated with implementation of the FMS technology. First, the manufacturing system is sophisticated and complicated. It is hard to apply and requires specialized knowledge and expertise to operate. Such expertise requires specially trained personnel who are hard to get. Additionally, initial costs of obtaining and operating are high. It is thus expensive. Small companies cannot hence afford them as they cost millions of dollars (ElMaraghy, 2008).
In addition, there is limited ability to changes in the product mix or just the products. This is because the machines have limited capacity and the necessary tools for products are not mostly feasible in given FMSs. Additionally, there are technological problems in component positioning and timing precisely that is required to process a part (Groover, 2010).
In conclusion, the 21st century industries require rolling out the FMS technology. This will assist them save on direct labor costs and others. It will also work well with modern applications like CAD and CAM. It has more advantages than disadvantages hence the best system presently. It also has various uses.

Flexible Manufacturing System

Retrieved March 27, 2015 from http://www.metamute.org/editorial/mute-music/flexipop

Flexible Manufacturing System

Retrieved March 27, 2015 from http://www.zk-system.com/assets/produkte/technologie-uebergreifende-systeme/flexible-manufacturing-systems/flexible-manufacturing-systems-detail-en.jpg

Flexible Manufacturing System

Retrieved March 27, 2015 from http://www.people.hbs.edu/dupton/papers/organic/workingpaper.html


Dima, I. C. (2013). Industrial Production Management in Flexible Manufacturing Systems. 2nd ed . Hershey: IGI Global.
ElMaraghy, H. (2008). Changeable and Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems. 3rd ed. New York NY: Springer Science & Business Media.
Ferreira, J. J. (2004). E-Manufacturing: Business Paradigms and Supporting Technologies: Business Paradigms and Supporting Technologies : 18th International Conference on CAD/CAM, Robotics, and Factories of the Future (CARs & FOF), July 2002, Porto, Portugal. 1st ed .New York NY: Springer Science & Business Media.
Groover, M. P. (2010). Fundamentals of Modern Manufacturing: Materials, Processes, and Systems. 2nd ed. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.
Retrieved March 27, 2015 from http://www.metamute.org/editorial/mute-music/flexipop
Retrieved March 27, 2015 from http://www.zk-system.com/assets/produkte/technologie-uebergreifende-systeme/flexible-manufacturing-systems/flexible-manufacturing-systems-detail-en.jpg
Retrieved March 27, 2015 from http://www.people.hbs.edu/dupton/papers/organic/workingpaper.htmld
Jha, N. K. (2012). Handbook of Flexible Manufacturing Systems. 1st ed. Waltham MA: Academic Press.

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Flexible Manufacturing Systems Research Papers Example. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/flexible-manufacturing-systems-research-papers-example/. Published Jan 02, 2021. Accessed May 16, 2022.

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