Flexible Manufacturing

Advanced, intuitive solutions to keep your operations agile

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.

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