The flexible automation is able to maintain competitive productions large enough for families of products. With low to medium volume-production, regardless of the project, from the demand, changes in product mix and failures of machines and tools. This is possible by inserting appropriate redundancy in the system that make it easy to adapt the system to the rising production of new market demands. The FMC then find space in economies of scope and not in economies of scale.
The flexible automation can be considered as the result of technological convergence between some key innovative elements such as the development of microelectronics, information technology and innovation of machine tools (NC and CNC).
• Ability to operate in degraded ( malfunction, failure ), an adaptation of the work cycle when a component is not working , change the routing process , even if this requires the drafting of alternative cycles and the non-existence of dedicated machines and the possibility to divert part programs , tools and replacement parts to the station ;
• Ability to manage in parallel the reorganization of the sequence of manufacturing operations in the face of sudden changes. So if you change the question that if you change a lot of production, the line does not stop, you do not have to reset the whole system: with FMC greatly reduces the setup time because you do while the system continues to work;
• Operating in a continuous cycle after programming of the machines and the necessary supplies (and therefore are very important warehouses);
• Rate of saturation of the production very high (it is more of a desire to make the most of the resources on which it is invested). It was worth the time and especially for flexible cables;
• Ability to work automatically and simultaneously different parts. The advantage over the organization’s departments to produce different parts but with very high efficiency (for departments in the organization you have bigger time of transport, logistics, waiting. Arrive almost 95% and only 5% of the total time is working carried out);
• Reduced lead time ie the time taken by raw materials from the warehouse to enter and exit the stock finished. This time also considers the supply of the material in its broadest sense;
• Increase the useful life of the plant. It is a controversial concept : if the product mix varies not throw away the plant because the machines are not ultra specialized and the system is , in fact, flexible , though on a very long time this is not true because there is aging technology (especially information technology ), which requires a back of the system;
• Higher quality and consistent in the work performed. An FMC is a production system intermediate between the production and the production departments for leased lines. High flexibility for types of parts and machining sequences; fully automated material flow with limited human intervention. An FMS creates an integrated management of the flow of materials and information necessary to achieve the production. Each FMC you can think of made up of six sub-system
• The management: with a central computer of government
• Scheduler: able to classify the products in households for the selection of machining
• Of manufacture: capable of producing large enough families of products
• By assembling: able to recognize and manipulate fairly large families of products
• Of Transportation: capable of transporting raw materials, work pieces and finished products between machines and warehouses
• In storage : able to store the raw materials , parts waiting to be processed and finished products enable them to be used in an FMS , the components must have certain characteristics of modularity that make them compatible with each other
• NUMERICAL CONTROL MACHINE: machining cycles are performed on machines with CNC or NC adaptive;
• WAREHOUSE: Allows storage of parts waiting to be processed;
• DEVICE FOR TOOL CHANGE: workstations are equipped with equipment for automatic tool change;
• DEVICE FOR CHANGING THE PIECE MOUNTED ON A PALLET: allows the passage of the pieces from the workstation to the means of automated transport.
The contribution of the human operator is reduced to control aspects but no longer operational
• Preparation of work (deciding what to do and when);
• Development of program production;
• Procurement of materials, tools and equipment needed;
• Monitoring and maintenance of the system (intervention in case of failures).
• Flexibility of the production module (number of different parts that can be processed);
• Flexibility of the system of material handling equipment (ability to handle a number of different parts in the shape, weight and number);
• Flexibility of the computer system (adaptability to changes in various functions. The FMS is designed according to the information technology of the moment and this is a point of vulnerability and strength at the same time )
• Flexibility of the organization of the system;
• Flexible working (part families can be processed);
• Flexible programming operations ( such as cycle assigned to a machine or to another , the so-called routing is important because it represents the index of fault tolerance that indicates whether you can continue to work in case of failure );
• Flexibility in the short term (it cost impact of changes in the production schedule. Necessary to understand how long you have to freeze a production plan, or if you must lock before changing production. You can go from a few days to 15 days plan freezing);
• Flexibility of long-term (impact on system costs due to changes in the production schedule).