Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS): Definition, Types, Objectives, Components Database

Published by Sunil Rathod on

Introduction

In the middle of 1960s market competition became more the intense. During 1960 to the 1970 cost was the primary concern. Later quality became the priority. As the market became more and the more complex speed of delivery became something customer also the needed. A new strategy was the formulated Customizability. The companies have to adapt to the environment in which they operate to be more flexible in their operations and to the satisfy different market segments. Thus the innovation of the flexible manufacturing system (FMS) became related to the effort of gaining competitive the advantage.

First of all the flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is the manufacturing technology. Secondly flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is the philosophy. System is the key word. Philosophically the flexible manufacturing system (FMS) incorporates a system view of the manufacturing. The buzzword for today’s manufacturer is the agility. An agile manufacturer is the one who is the fastest to market operates with the lowest total cost and has the greatest ability to delight it’s the customers. The flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is the simply one way that manufacturers are able to the achieve this agility.

Manufacturing Flexibility

Mass Production or Flow production

  • One of the best examples of mass production is the manufacturing process adopted by the Ford.
  • Mass production is the also known as flow production or assembly line production.
  • It is one of the most common types of products used in the automobile industry and is also used in the industries where continuous production is the required.
  • An Assembly line or the mass production plant typically focus on the specialization.
  • There are the multiple workstations installed and the assembly line goes through all the workstations turn by the turn.
  • The work is the done in a specialized manner and the each workstation is responsible for one single type of the work.
  • As the result these workstations are very efficient and the production due to which whole the assembly line becomes productive and the efficient.
  • The Products which are manufactured using the mass production are very standardized the products.
  • High sophistication is the used in manufacturing of the products.
  • If the 1000 products are manufactured using mass the production, each one of them should to be the exactly same.
  • There should be no deviation in the product manufactured.

Part selection problems in flexible manufacturing system

The integrated part type selection problem and machine loading problem that are considered as NP- hard problems in production planning of flexible manufacturing system (FMS) and strongly determine the system’s efficiency and productivity. The integrated problems are modelled and solved simultaneously by using Variable Neighbourhood Search (VNS). A new neighbourhood structure is designed to enable the VNS produces near optimum solutions in a reasonable amount of time.

The proposed Variable Neighbourhood Search (VNS) improves the flexible manufacturing system (FMS) performance by the considering two objectives, maximizing system throughput and the maintaining balance of the system. The overall stages in the flexible manufacturing system (FMS) environment are depicted in the Fig. 1. Problems addressed in this paper are shown in the grey areas. The scheduling and assembly operations problems can be the solved after solutions of the part type selection and machine loading problems are the obtained.

Manufacturing process

Continuous production or Process production

  • There is a lot of confusion between mass production and the continuous production.
  • It can be the differentiated by a single element.
  • The amount of mechanical work the involved.
  • In the Mass production, both machines and humans work in the tandem.
  •  However, in the continuous production, most of the work is done by machines rather than humans.
  • In the continuous production production is the continuous, 24×7 hours, all days in the year.
  • A good example of the Continuous production is the brewing.
  • In brewing, the production goes on 24 h
  • There is a lot of the confusion between mass production and the continuous production.
  • It can be the differentiated by a single element.
  • The amount of mechanical work the involved.
  • In the Mass production, both machines and humans work in the tandem.
  •  However, in the continuous production, most of the work is done by machines rather than humans.
  • In the continuous production production is the continuous, 24×7 hours, all days in the year.
  • A good example of the Continuous production is the brewing.
  • In brewing, the production goes on 24 hours a day and the 365 days a year. This is because brewing takes a lot of time and production is the important.
  • As a result, there is the continuous input of raw materials such as malt or water, and there is the continuous output in the form of beer or other alcoholic drink.
  • The key factor in this is that  brewing and the fermentation process itself is the time-consuming, and the maximum time is spent in the fermentation which is the   continuous process
  • There are many chemicals which are manufactured in the form of a continuous process due to the huge demand across the world. Similarly Plastic industry is the known to adopt the continuous production methodology where production can go continuously for the weeks or months depending on the demand.
  • Once the production starts you only need to feed in the raw material, and the machines turn out the finalized products.
  • ours a day and the 365 days a year. This is because brewing takes a lot of time and production is the important.
  • As a result, there is the continuous input of raw materials such as malt or water, and there is the continuous output in the form of beer or other alcoholic drink.
  • The key factor in this is that  brewing and the fermentation process itself is the time-consuming, and the maximum time is spent in the fermentation which is the   continuous process
  • There are many chemicals which are manufactured in the form of a continuous process due to the huge demand across the world. Similarly Plastic industry is the known to adopt the continuous production methodology where production can go continuously for the weeks or months depending on the demand.
  • Once the production starts you only need to feed in the raw material, and the machines turn out the finalized products.

FMS Data Base Systems

The Database Management System (DMS) is a combination of the computer software, hardware, and the information designed to electronically manipulate data via the computer processing. Two types of the database management systems are the Database Management System (DBMS) and the File Management System (FMS). In the simple terms, a File Management System (FMS) is the Database Management System that allows access to the single files or tables at the time. The File Management System (FMS) accommodate flat files that have no relation to the other files. The File Management System (FMS) was the predecessor for the Database Management System (DBMS), which allows access to the multiple files or tables at the time see Figure below.

Comparison of FMS vs DBMS

The different types of flexibility

1. Machine Flexibility

It is the capability to adapt a given machine in the system to a wide range of production operations and the part styles. The greater the range of operations and the part styles greater will be the machine flexibility. The various factors on which machine flexibility depends are the Setup or changeover time Ease with which the part-programs can be downloaded to the machines Tool storage capacity of machines Skill and the versatility of workers in the systems.

2. Production Flexibility

It is the range of the part styles that can be produced on the systems. The range of part styles that can be produced by the manufacturing system at moderate cost and the time is determined by the process envelope. It depends on the following factors: Machine flexibility of the individual stations Range of machine flexibilities of all stations in the system.

3. Mix Flexibility

It is the defined as ability to the change product mix while maintaining same total production quantity that is the producing same parts only in the different proportions. It is the also known as process flexibility. Mix flexibility provides protection against market variability by the accommodating changes in the product mix due to use of the shared resources. However, high mix variations may result in the requirements for a greater number of the tools, fixtures, and other resources. Mixed flexibility depends on the factors such as: Similarity of parts in the mix Machine flexibility Relative work content times of the parts produced.

4. Product Flexibility

It refers to ability to the changeover to a new set of the products economically and quickly in response to the changing market requirements. The change over time includes time for the designing, planning, tooling, and featuring of the new products introduced in the manufacturing line-up. It depends upon following factors: Relatedness of the new part design with the existing part family Off-line part program preparation Machine the flexibility.

5. Routing Flexibility

It can define as capacity to the produce parts on alternative workstation in the case of equipment breakdowns, tool failure, and the other interruptions at any particular station. It helps in the increasing throughput, in presence of the external changes such as product mix, engineering changes, or the new product introductions. Following are the factors which decides routing flexibility Similarity of parts in the mix Similarity of the workstations Common tooling.

6. Volume Flexibility

It is the ability of the system to vary the production volumes of different products to accommodate changes in demand while remaining profitable. It can also be termed as capacity flexibility. Factors affecting the volume flexibility are: Level of manual labour performing production Amount invested in capital equipment.

7. Expansion Flexibility

It is the defined as ease with which system can be the expanded to foster total production the volume. Expansion flexibility depends on the following factors: Cost incurred in the adding new workstations and trained workers Easiness in the expansion of layout Type of the part handling system used.

Types of Fms Layouts

The different types of FMS layouts are

  • Progressive or Line Type
  • Loop Type
  • Ladder Type
  • Open field type
  • Robot cantered type

1. Progressive or Line type

The machines and handling system are arranged in the line as shown in the Fig.1.4 (a). It is the most appropriate for the system in which part progress from the one workstation to next in the well-defined sequence with the back flow. The operation of this type of system is the very similar to transfer type. Work always flows in the unidirectional path as shown .

2. Loop Type

The basic loop configuration is as shown in the Fig. 1.4 (b). The parts usually move in one the direction around loop with the capability to stop and be transferred to the any station. The loading and unloading station are the typically located at one end of the loop .

3.Ladder Type

The configuration is as shown in the Fig. 1.4 (c). The loading and unloading station is the typically located at the same end. The sequence to the operation/transfer of parts from one the machine tool to another is in the form of ladder steps as shown .

4. Open Field Type

The configuration of the open field is as shown in the Fig.1.4 (d). The loading and unloading station is the typically located at the same end. The parts will go through all the substations, such as the CNC machines, coordinate measuring machines and the wash station by help of the AGV’s from one substation to the another.

5. Robot Cantered Type

Robot centered cell is the relatively new form of the flexible system in which one or more robots are used as the material handling systems as shown in the Fig.1.4 (e). Industrial robots can be the equipped with grippers that make them well suited for handling of the rotational parts.

Objectives of an FMS

A study, carried out with West Germany manufacturing has shown the major aims of installing an FMS to be

  • Decreased Lead Times
  • Increased Throughput
  • Increased machine utilization
  • Improved Due Date Reliability
  • Decreased Store Inventors Levels
  • decreased Work in Progress
  • Increased Quality

Definition

A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is and the arrangement of machines interconnected by the transport system. The transporter carries work to the machines on pallets or other interface units so that work-machine registration is the accurate rapid and the automatic. A central computer controls both machines and the transport system.

Basic Components of FMS

The basic components of FMS are

  1. Workstations
  2. Automated Material Handling and Storage system.
  3. Computer Control System

1. Workstations

In present day application these workstations are the typically computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools that perform machining operation on families of the parts. Flexible manufacturing systems are being designed with other type of the equipment’s including inspection stations, assembly works and the sheet metal presses. The various workstations are

  • Machining canter’s
  •  Load and unload stations
  • Assembly work stations
  • Inspection stations
  • Forging station
  • Sheet metal processing, etc.

2. Automated Material Handling and the Storage system

The various automated material handling systems are used to the transport work parts and subassembly parts between the processing stations, sometimes incorporating storage into the function. The various functions of automated material handling and the storage system are

  • Random and the independent movement of work parts between workstations
  • Handling of a variety of the work part configurations
  • Temporary the storage
  • Convenient access for the loading and unloading of the work parts
  • Compatible with the computer control

3. Computer Control System

It is the used to coordinate activities of the processing stations and the material handling system in the flexible manufacturing system (FMS). The various functions of the computer control system are

  • Control of the each work station
  • Distribution of control instruction to the work station
  • Production control
  • Traffic control
  • Shuttle control
  • Work handling system and the monitoring
  • System performance monitoring and the reporting
    The flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is the most suited for the mid variety, mid value production range.
Application characteristics of FMS

Sunil Rathod

Sunil Rathod

My attitude is always towards learning new things. I am a very greedy person in grabbing the opportunities to polish my knowledge.That's all about me.Thank you! Sunil Rathod

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