Respond quickly to market changes with flexible technologies that support a modular approach to manufacturing

Manufacturers across industries are finding it necessary to compete not just on throughput and cost-effectiveness, but also on flexibility. The overarching goal of this increasingly important strategy is to respond effectively to consumer needs while managing multiple product types.

To be flexible, a manufacturing system must automatically identify different production units to perform the correct operation, efficiently send changeover instructions to computer-controlled machines, and quickly change the arrangements of fixtures, tools and other working units.

From CNC machines to comprehensive solutions

The origins of flexible manufacturing are in the computer numerical control (CNC) business, where companies found a way to build several different products on a single machine. Today’s flexible systems are organized on a scale that encompasses the entire plant.

Manufacturers can take advantage of modular, adaptable solutions to quickly switch between product types and minimize downtime. With robotics, vision and other key technologies, a flexible manufacturing system makes it easier to stay competitive in today’s cutthroat market.

This solution will help you:

  • Boost your capacity to produce a diverse range of products
  • Minimize costs and downtime associated with product changeover
  • Efficiently accommodate variations in packaging design
  • Manage innovation while continuing to support legacy needs
  • Stay competitive in a rapidly changing market

Making the most of flexible manufacturing

The first white paper in our mini-series on flexible manufacturing discusses five key strategies for improving predictive maintenance and operational flexibility. It encompasses several fundamental elements of a flexible system, including modularity, traceability and code reusability. It also discusses some ways in which manufacturers can harness the power of AI to improve equipment longevity.

Maximize operational scalability to quickly handle shifts in demand

Intelligent, adaptable automation solutions designed to handle rapid changeovers and accommodate shorter production runs are critical in the food and beverage packaging industry. Flexibility efforts within this industry focus on ensuring processors and packagers can handle the ever-changing needs of the global market, with minimal disruption to production.

Increase throughput and lower time-to-market with flexible solutions

Just as engineers must streamline vehicles to promote a better gas mileage, manufacturers must streamline their operations to deal with the challenges of an increasingly complex industry. Flexibility is an important strategy for expanding customization, addressing specific market demands and keeping throughput as high as possible.

Although there are costs involved in flexibility – both in terms of the equipment itself and the slightly reduced throughput due to constant product changeover – these costs are outweighed by the potential expense of producing vehicles that don’t sell or letting an entire line be idle once its dedicated product ceases to be in demand.

Our new white paper discusses several flexible manufacturing trends in the automotive industry as well as strategies for overcoming the challenges of a flexible system.

Transforming semiconductor and electronics manufacturing, encouraging disruptive innovation with flexible production

The need for continuous innovation characterizes consumer electronics and semiconductor manufacturing perhaps more than any other industry. The market is always hungry for the next exciting tech gadget, and with each new product release comes a host of options for customization. Individual customers want items with their favorite colors, just the right amount of memory, and whatever features they prize the most. Semiconductor manufacturers see a need to produce processors with varying speeds and power requirements so that they can be incorporated into tablets, phones and all sorts of different device formats.

To meet the needs of the market while retaining the ability to rapidly innovate, semiconductor and electronics manufacturers are increasingly relying on a flexible manufacturing strategy. This white paper discusses several strategies for ensuring the efficiency, throughput and transparency of flexible manufacturing systems for device makers and electronics.

Flexibility and quality in the life sciences arena

Saddled with the baggage of legacy systems, many companies in the life sciences arena are facing pressure to boost time-to-market and adapt to evolving requirements. Flexibility is a key strategy for staying ahead of the competition, and yet flexibility also raises a manufacturing system’s complexity. This complexity, in turn, makes it more difficult to maintain quality.

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