Agile Manufacturing System

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Agile Manufacturing System (AMS) is an economic response to the increasing complexity of machining operations.

Definition agile

  • means the ability to move quickly and easily
  • refers to or designates a method of project management which is characterized by the division of tasks into short work phases and frequent re-evaluation and adaptation of plans. Agile methods therefore replace high-level design with frequent redesign.

The complexity of the production process in chip-removing manufacturing increases with a simultaneous increase in part variance, which reduces the number of pieces to be produced per order - up to batch size 1. In addition, there is a higher demand for manufacturing quality and thus, for example, higher demands on the transparency and traceability of production. The reasons for this include shorter lifecycles due to faster technological developments and increasingly individualized products that require faster response times to customer needs in a global market with geographically diversified supply chains. The challenges posed by the growing complexity of production can therefore only be met by increasing the level of automation and digitization, which together create the decisive basis for AMS.

Advantages of AMS

  • Economical series production as well as small and very small series up to single-part production
  • Reasonable supplement to existing Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) and robot-supported solutions for automated workpiece handling with the aim of increasing production capacity and flexibility.
  • Combination of different manufacturing processes such as milling and turning with solutions that intelligently combine automated pallet handling and workpiece handling.
  • Modifiable and always scalable manufacturing system that enables different process chains without any hardware modifications.

General requirements for AMS (hardware and software)

An agile production requires agile hardware. The systems must therefore be able to adapt flexibly to the respective production requirements and be easily modifiable and scalable in this sense in order to be able to react quickly to changing requirements. A central function in an AMS is the software as a superordinate system intelligence, which efficiently plans, predicts, controls and monitors the automated production and resource management of cutting machine tools. In this context, the software must have the ability to ensure the seamless networking of the connected machines as well as different software levels, e. g. ERP systems, CAD/CAM systems etc.

Technical requirements for AMS

By combining suitable clamping techniques and advanced grippers with powerful control software, and the development of appropriate CAM programs, it is possible to manufacture small batch sizes and even individual parts within a certain range of the entire product range economically and fully automatically.

Central tasks of an AMS

  • Agility: easy implementation of new workpieces into the system
  • Adaptivity: simple integration and demand-oriented expansion of hardware and software
  • Low entry level: affordable entry costs, scalability, adaptability, simulation
  • Resilience: avoidance of production disruptions, intelligent troubleshooting
  • Visibility: data systems, transparency, traceability, situation recognition

Solutions for AMS

An AMS can consist of an intelligent software solution as well as integrated agile manufacturing cells, flexible manufacturing systems (FFS) and/or stand-alone machines. Initially, the investment in an AMS does not have to be high, since in a first step a smaller but scalable system can be realized, which can be extended at a later stage with additional integrated systems.

This article is sponsored by FASTEMS

Newsroom: FASTEMS

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