Market Place

Advantages of Flexible Assembly Automation Systems


Posted in Automation by emdtadmin on November 1, 2009

Careful planning and design of an automated production system will optimise return on investment throughout the entire lifecycle of a product. This article explains how.


Diversity in one system

Automated assembly of medical products is today the standard way of producing goods. The requirements of a highly regulated market in terms of product safety and the need to reduce costs mean that there is almost no alternative to automated production of parts, at least for mass/high volumes.

There has been no significant change in technical and user requirement specifications for assembly systems in recent years. What has changed is the variety of products and parts that must be produced with the same assembly system. In many cases, these various products differ greatly with regard to components and lot sizes. Another remarkable change concerns the wide selection of possible automated assembly systems that are available. Once, purchasing companies always wanted cam driven systems, which are not flexible, for their assembly tasks. Today, they ask for systems with high flexibility because they have learned that in certain circumstances spending more on purchasing a flexible system can be worth it.

Darragh Staunton at Automation Tooling Systems Munich, asserts, “Flexible automation can be a powerful instrument to improve profitability and to reduce risk. Although flexible systems may cause some higher costs for purchase and installation, the option to adapt a system to current requirements can be economically and technically convincing.”

As pointed out in a previous article,1 the better a project is planned, the more effectively the automation company can build a flexible high tech production system. One of the important questions an assembly system manufacturer has to ask during the planning phase is: How much flexibility is necessary to achieve a good ratio between the required flexibility, which may cost more than standard technology with no or less flexibility, and the calculated return on investment over the lifetime of the system and certainly of the produced product?

Try to plan for the unexpected

Figure 1: A flexible system can follow productivity requirements as necessary.
(click to enlarge)

The typical development of lot sizes during a product’s lifetime is that the required quantity of parts is smaller at the beginning, rising to the maximum for a period and then decreasing when the product comes to the end of its lifecycle. The task is to support this development curve by selecting the right production technology (Figure 1). If successful, earnings during the entire product lifecycle can be optimised significantly while risk is mitigated. The following describes how this can be achieved.

In this scenario, an installed production system was planned well and now produces medical parts that are assembled from a number of single parts into one complex medical product. During the planning phase, client and system manufacturer considered carefully how much flexibility is necessary and where in the production line this flexibility is reasonably to be installed. As mentioned, lot sizes are low in the beginning and grow steadily as the product gains market acceptance as a good product. As the number of required parts reaches the expected high quantity, the assembly system reaches the limit of its production capacity. A decision must then be made on how this can be addressed. The “normal” way would be to purchase a second system, but the flexible way would be to modify the existing one to obtain higher productivity from it. This can be achieved in various ways.

The drive system. In most cases the level of flexibility is based on the transport system that is used to move the parts through the single machining stations. If work piece carriers are rigidly coupled with the drive system, it is highly unlikely that any flexibility will be possible by way of adding optional components or production steps to enhance productivity.

Figure 2: A linear motor based modular conveyor system that provides a high level of flexibility. Carriers can be programmed singularly and each can operate independently in terms of in positioning, acceleration, speed and direction.

However, if the drive system is flexible, if it allows additional stops or additional movements back and forth, and if there is some space available in the production line, additional machining stations can be added, which will solve, in most cases, the need to increase productivity with practicable changes in the assembly system.

Step-by-step approach. Trying to plan for the unexpected requires the assembly system manufacturer to be able to supply adequate technology so that the system can be open to various changes. The assembly system can be extended to increase productivity in several steps, which allows current specifications to be met and a reduction in initial investment, which mitigates risk. This will also cover a situation when the quantity of parts needed to be produced is lower than expected. A production system built in this way can remain in operation indefinitely and the lower investment costs help to keep projects in the profit zone, even if the product sales do not reach expectations. Typical ways to extend an automation system include increasing the number of parts in the work piece carrier, cloning machining stations and increasing work speed.

Supplementary stations. A flexible system can also be expanded for the production of other types of product/line extensions not expected during the planning phase (Figure 2). This may affect the layout of a system in a significant way. Thorough planning during an early project phase will allow supplementary stations to be added to adapt the entire systems to additional tasks.

Reusability. In addition, elaborate flexible production systems offer the advantage of reusability over other technical solutions, and this can affect single components of a production line as well as an entire system. A workstation that is added to increase productivity can be removed when it is no longer required and added to another system. At the end of a product lifecycle, with relatively minor retrofit measures, an assembly system may be used for completely different products.

Qualification. This leads directly to another advantage of a flexible system: significantly reduced effort and cost for qualification and validation to meet legal requirements.

Many automation system specialists have experience of introducing product diversity that delivers a positive influence on assembly automation. But it will remain the purchaser’s responsibility to decide if flexibility is necessary and reasonable, and if so, how much. This is the new challenge for the medical device industry.

 
Reference

1. A. Sedlak, “How to Effectively Partner With An Automation Company,” Medical Device Technology, 18, 7 (2007).

Alexander Sedlak is Manager Technical Marketing, ATS Automation Tooling Systems Munich GmbH & Co. KG, Heimstetten, Germany, tel. +49 89 4272 210, e-mail: europe@atsautomation.com, www.atsautomation.com



Find more content on:
No votes yet


Login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

I appreciate you and hopping

I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts. Thank you for sharing great information to us. ajmer to jaipur cab

Good post but I was wondering

Good post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Appreciate it!

Red Smoothie Detox Factor Review

Absolutely fantastic posting!

Absolutely fantastic posting! Lots of useful information and inspiration, both of which we all need!Relay appreciate your work.

belltours

Very useful post. This is my

Very useful post. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. Really its great article. Keep it up.
queue

this is really nice to

this is really nice to read..informative post is very good to read..thanks a lot!
michael fiore text your ex back

I just couldn't leave your

I just couldn't leave your website before telling you that I truly enjoyed the top quality info you present to your visitors? Will be back again frequently to check up on new posts.
The guy magnet system

Great content material and

Great content material and great layout. Your website deserves all of the positive feedback it’s been getting.
upresults

I am unable to read articles

I am unable to read articles online very often, but I’m glad I did today. This is very well written and your points are well-expressed. Please, don’t ever stop writing.
The Secret Brain System Review

There is so much in this

There is so much in this article that I would never have thought of on my own. Your content gives readers things to think about in an interesting way. Thank you for your clear information.
How To Read A Man Review

Thank you again for all the

Thank you again for all the knowledge you distribute,Good post. I was very interested in the article, it's quite inspiring I should admit. I like visiting you site since I always come across interesting articles like this one.Great Job, I greatly appreciate that.Do Keep sharing! Regards,
The Respect Principle

I have read your blog it is

I have read your blog it is very helpful for me. I want to say thanks to you. I have bookmark your site for future updates.
Devin Zander Ad Respark

Interesting and amazing how

Interesting and amazing how your post is! It Is Useful and helpful for me That I like it very much, and I am looking forward to Hearing from your next..
Diabetes Destroyer system

Your work is very good and I

Your work is very good and I appreciate you and hopping for some more informative posts. Thank you for sharing great information to us.
Text Your Ex Back

Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll

Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find so many useful info here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.
Mend The Marriage By Brad Browning

I can see that you are an

I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.
The Language of Desire

I admire this article for the

I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much.
The Bonding Code Review

There is so much in this

There is so much in this article that I would never have thought of on my own. Your content gives readers things to think about in an interesting way. Thank you for your clear information.
Pull Your Ex Back

useful information on topics

useful information on topics that plenty are interested on for this wonderful post.Admiring the time and effort you put into your b!..
pure garcinia cambogia

Nice to read your article! I

Nice to read your article! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures and experiences.
Paleo Grubs Book

I wish to say that this

I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, very great post. gurgaon to jaipur cab

Generally I do not read

Generally I do not read article on blogs, however I wish to say that this write-up very forced me to check out and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, very great post.
The Millionaire Brain Review

kesehatan

Its a great pleasure reading

Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of information I am looking for and I love to post a comment that "The content of your post is awesome" Great work. buy twitch followers

I feel you made few

I feel you made few salubrious points in Attributes moreover. Detain busy, awesome career!
backlinks service

You know your projects stand

You know your projects stand out of the herd. There is something special about them. It seems to me all of them are really brilliant! wireline companies

Thank you so much for sharing

Thank you so much for sharing this great blog.Very inspiring and helpful too.Hope you continue to share more of your ideas.I will definitely love to read.
The Woman Men Adore and Never Leave

Nice post. I was checking

Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specially the last part I care for such info a lot. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and good luck.
Rocket Spanish

HR-systeem te digitaliseren

HR-systeem te digitaliseren en automatisch waarschuwingen te laten genereren zodra informatie verwijderd moet worden.
coloring pages for girls

Thanks for a wonderful share.

Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has proved your hard work and experience you have got in this field. Brilliant .i love it reading.
Obsession Phrases Review

I like this post,And I guess

I like this post,And I guess that they having fun to read this post,they shall take a good site to make a information,thanks for sharing it to me.
Fat Diminisher System

I have been searching out for

I have been searching out for this similar kind of post for past a week and hardly came across this. Thank you very much and will look for more postings from you..Xarelto Abdominal Bleeding Lawsuits

I would like to thank for the

I would like to thank for the efforts you have made in writing this post. Its a great pleasure reading your post.Its full of informatio
joint pain supplements

An fascinating discussion is

An fascinating discussion is value comment. I think that it is best to write extra on this matter, it won’t be a taboo topic however generally people are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers
cannabis dispensary Tacoma

I know that you explain it

I know that you explain it very well. And I hope that other readers will also experience how I feel after reading your article. gurgaon to jaipur cab

I am actually delighted to

I am actually delighted to glance at this blog posts which includes plenty of usefulfacts, thanks for providing such information. http://thealmostdone.com/2015/12/15/the-new-and-popular-chatting-apps-for-android/

I wanted to thank you for

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
Wrap Him Around Your Finger Review

Some truly wonderful work

Some truly wonderful work on behalf of the owner of this internet site . perfectly great articles .
What Men Secretly Want Review

I wanted to thank you for

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
haystack

interesting post

Great things you’ve always shared with us klinik aborsi. Just keep writing this kind of posts.The time which was wasted in traveling for tuition now it can be used for studies.Thanks

Magnificent goods from you,

Magnificent goods from you, man. I have have in mind your stuff previous to and you’re simply too great. I really like what you have received right here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which during which you assert it. You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to stay it wise. I can not wait to learn far more from you. This is really a tremendous site. thealmostdoneme.tumblr.com | obat ambeien | jual acrylic | akrilik | obat peninggi badan

No doubt this is an excellent

No doubt this is an excellent post I got a lot of knowledge after reading good luck. Theme of blog is excellent there is almost everything to read. Brilliant post.
Numerologist

There’s always a bit more

There’s always a bit more room. Whether we figured this to be true or just assumed it to be is somethingjet ski dock
I can’t quite say.

I wish more authors of this

I wish more authors of this type of content would take the time you did to research and write so well. I am very impressed with your vision and insight.
custom Vinyl Letters

You have a good point here!I

You have a good point here!I totally agree with what you have said!!Thanks for sharing your views...hope more people will read this article! auto accident attorneys

There has been no significant

There has been no significant change in technical and user requirement specifications for assembly systems in recent years. What has changed is the variety of products and parts that must be produced with the same assembly system... monthly backlink service

Cool article it's really.

Cool article it's really. Friend on mine has long been awaiting just for this content.
איך רושמים פטנט וכמה זה עולה

JOHN SEO

I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking.
more information

Good job! I must admit that

Good job! I must admit that your post is really interesting. I have spent a lot of my spare time reading your content. Thank you a lot! E3-1240v2

I really enjoy simply reading

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. Simply wanted to inform you that you have people like me who appreciate your work
more info

I just check out your site

I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. Xarelto Victim