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Flexible Processing System Analysis

Keywords: fms overview, fms benefit

Historyof Flexible Developing Systems


AFlexible Manufacturing System(FMS) is a developing system in which there's a certain degree offlexibilitythat allows the system to react regarding changes, whether predicted or unpredicted. According toMaleki[1], overall flexibility is the acceleration at which a system can react to and accommodate change. To be looked at flexible, the versatility must exist during the complete life circuit of something, from design to making to circulation. Flexible Creation System is a computer-controlled system that can produce a variety of parts or products in virtually any order, without the time-consuming activity of changing machine setups.

The versatility being talked about is generally thought to fall under two categories, which both contain numerous subcategories[2].

The first category, Machine Flexibility, covers the system's ability to be evolved to produce new product types, and capability to change the order of procedures executed on a component. The next category is named Routing Versatility, which includes the ability to use multiple machinesto perform the same operation on a part, as well as the system's capability to soak up large-scale changes, such just as level, capacity, or capacity.

The main good thing about an FMS is its high versatility in managing developing resources like commitment to be able to manufacture a new product. The best application of an FMS is situated in the production of small pieces of products like those from amass development.

FM systems are supposed to provide the producer with efficient adaptable machines that increase efficiency and produce quality parts. However, FM systems are not the response to all manufacturers' problems. The amount of flexibility is limited to the scientific skills of the FM systems. FM systems are being used all over the manufacturing world and though out industries. A basic knowledge of this kind of technology is vital because FM systems get excited about almost everything that you come in contact with nowadays. From the coffeemaker to your remote control FM systems are being used all over.

History of Flexible Developing Systems

At the change of the twentieth century, FMS didn't exist. There was no pressing dependence on efficiency because the market segments were countrywide and there is no foreign competition. Manufacturers could notify the consumers what to buy. Throughout that period, Henry Ford have been quoted as expressing "People can order any colour of car so long as it is black. " All of the power remained in the hands of the maker and the consumers rarely had any selections.

However, following the Second World Warfare a new time in production was to come. The finding of new materials and production techniques increased quality and productivity. The war resulted in the emergence of open foreign market segments and new competition. The target of the marketplace shifted from manufacturer to consumer. Regarding to Maleki, the first FM system was trademarked in 1965 by Theo Williamson who made numerically controlled equipment. Examples of numerically manipulated equipment are like CNC lathes or mills whichKusiaksays are varying types of FM systems.

During the 1970s, with the ever-growing developments in the field of technology, manufacturers started out facing difficulties and hence, FM systems became main-stream in making to support new changes whenever required. During the 1980s for the very first time manufacturers had to take consideration efficiency, quality, and overall flexibility to stay in business.

According to Hoeffer, the change in processing as time passes was due to several factors. (Hoeffer, 1986)

  • Increased international competition,
  • The need to reduce manufacturing circuit time, and
  • Pressure to slice the production cost.

Everyday new technology are being developed and even FM systems are growing. However, overtime FM systems have worked for most manufacturers and hence will be around for enough time to come.

The Process of Flexible Creation Systems

As has been discussed above the adaptable developing system can be broadly categorised into two types, with regards to the nature of versatility present in the process, Machine Flexibility and Routing Flexibility

FMS systems essentially comprise of three main systems. [3]

  1. The processing channels: These are essentially programmed CNC machines.
  2. The automated material handling and storage space system: These hook up the task machines to enhance the circulation of parts.
  3. Central control computer: This adjustments the motion of materials and machine circulation.

The FMS as something stands out because it does not follow a set set of process steps. The process sequence changes according to requirement to allow maximum efficiency. Collection of material stream in one tool to some other is not fixed nor is the series of procedures at each tool fixed.

Key Features of the Process[4]

Some characteristics that differentiate FMS from regular making systems are their specialized flexibility, i. e. , the capability to quickly change blend, routing, and sequence of operations within the parts envelope and also complexness resulting from the integration, mechanization, and reprogrammable control of operations i. e. , parts machining, materials handling, and tool change. Some key features of the procedure are discussed below.

Cell: It involves several groupings of several automated machines within the company. Each grouping is named a cell. All of the machines present are handled by the computer. They can be programmed to improve quickly from one production set you back another.

A key feature is the robotic stream of materials to the cell and the robotic removal of the finish item. Several skin cells are linked along by means of an automated materials-handling system, and the flow of goods is managed by a computer. In this manner a computer-integrated manufacturing process is set up.

Random bypass potential: The material managing system has a arbitrary bypass functionality, i. e. a component can be transferred from any tool in the interconnected system to some other because the travel system can bypass any tool along the path, on demand. This implies:

  • Each part can traverse a varying route through the machine.
  • Again, this versatility in material handling, in mixture with multipurpose tools, allows for a flexible making system to process a great diversity of parts.

Automation: Computers will be the center of automation. They offer the platform for the info systems which immediate action and keep an eye on opinions from machine activities.

As FMS entail a multitude of components, each with their own kind of computer control, several computer components are installed as islands of automation, each with a pc control with the capacity of monitoring and directing the action. Each one of the computer handles has its communication protocol predicated on the amount of data needed to control the part. Thus, the task of computer integration is to determine interfaces and information movement between an array of computer types and models.

Computer software supplies the ability to transmit timely and appropriate status information and to utilize information which includes been communicated from other personal computers in FMS.

Component redundancy: In FMS as the equipment is highly included, the interruptions of 1 aspect affect other components. This brings about a greater a chance to trace the situation when compared with isolated components. In some cases, the interruption might be due to some other integration result, and greater downtime may effect before the genuine cause of the condition is available.

In this example, component redundancy provides flexibility with the ability for choice, which is accessible whenever there are at least two available options. Flexible production contains functionally equal machinery. So in case of failure of 1 machine the process flow is aimed towards a functionally comparable machine.

Multiple Pathways: A path in flexible developing represents a part sequence and requisite accessories to complete its required procedures. In a conventional machine environment, only 1 path is present for a component because a single fixture remains at an individual machine. However, this isn't the situation within flexible processing systems, where there are multiple pathways. The number of paths which can be found within flexible creation is a measure of the amount of flexibility. Clearly, the higher the amount of paths, higher is the amount of versatility.

Flexibility ranks high in Japans creation strategy however, not in Americas. A genuine flexible factory can not only build different variants of the same car, like a coup or a train station wagon, on a single production brand, but also a totally different car. This is exactly what the Japanese factories are setting out to do. The expense of one stock can be propagate across five or ten autos. Apart from lower resolved cost, additionally it is less painful to stop making one particular automobiles if it fails to sell.

FMS as something of manufacturing process can be in comparison to other procedures in terms of the merchandise volume it creates and its convenience of creating part versions.

The above depicts the positioning of FMS vis- -vis that of stand-alone machine and transfer lines. The horizontal axis symbolizes production quantity level and the vertical axis shows the variability of parts. Transfer lines are incredibly successful when producing parts at a sizable volume level at high productivity rate, whereas stand-alone machines are ideally suited for deviation in workplace construction and low development rate. In terms of developing efficiency and output, a gap exists between your high development rate transfer machines and the highly flexible machines. FMS, has been seen as a viable answer to bridge the distance and as a gateway to the automated factory of the future.

The Process: With regards to particular companies[5]

Though the features of this manufacturing invention process are similar across all types of firms, the way in which in which they are really adopted and executed depends upon product type, processing, maintenance, process planning and quality control operations. It is also contingent upon folks carrying out these processes; the successful resources being used and the organizational preparations used to split and organize the processes distinguished.

The description of the layout of your company that has implemented the flexible developing system provides clear notion of how the system works in sensible life. They have all the features as mentioned before of the FMS.

Flexible Production System in the Hattersley Newman Hender (H. N. H. )

This company, located in U. K. manufactures high and low pressure systems and caps for normal water, gas and engine oil valves. These components require a total of 2750 parts for his or her manufacture. That's the reason they went for the system of F. M. S. to fulfill their machining requirements in one system. The process explained below shows how FMS is utilized for efficient development for this company.

Their FMS consists of primary and secondary facilities. The principal facilities include 5 general machining centres and 2 special machining centres. The secondary facilities contain tool adjustments and manual workstations.

System layout and facilities:

Flexible Developing Systems [F. M. S]

Primary facilities:

Machining centres: The FMS consists of two 5-axis horizontal 'out-facing' machines and five 4-axis machining centres under the web host control. All of the machines have a rotating pallet changer each with two pallet buffer channels.

These stations copy pallets to and from the move system which consist of 8 automated led vehicles. The 5 widespread machining centres have 2 mags with capacity of 40 tools in each newspaper. The special goal out-facing machines (OFM) each have one journal developing a capacity of 40 tools. The tool journals can be packed by sending instructions to the tool environment room either from the host computer or the machine's numerical controller.

Processing centres: The machine contains two control centres - a wash machine and two manual workstations.

˜ Rinse machines: It contains two conveyor belts where the first is for insight and one for result of pallets, each with a capacity of three pallets to transfer the pallets. The wash booth has a capacity of three pallets. The pallets are washed in the booth and transformed upside-down to drain out the normal water. They are dried with blown air.

˜ Manual workstations (ring fitting area): The operator fits metal sealing rings into the valve bodies at the manual workstations. He obtains work instructions via computer interface with the host.

Secondary facilities:

Auxiliary stations:

˜ Fill/unload channels: The FMS has four-piece-part load and unload stations. Launching and unloading is performed at these stations with the instructions again received via computer program with the web host.

˜ Fixture-setting station: At these channels the fixtures are readjusted to accommodate different piece parts.

˜ Supervision of tools: Tools are constructed personally. The tool-setting machine checks the dimensional offsets of the tools and generates a club code for further id of the tool that has been set.

Auxiliary facilities:

˜ Travel system: The carry system involves a controller and 8 automated led vehicles (AGV). The system also contains an A. G. V. power charging area.

˜ Buffer stores: The FMS has 20 buffer stores to be able to store the empty and loaded pallets while they are simply waiting to be studied to another copy place (i. e. a insert/unload stop or a machine tool etc. ).

˜ Maintenance Area: This service caters to pallets that may be ruined or need servicing or for storing scrapped piece-parts.

˜ Raw Materials Stores: These stores are situated in front of the load / unload stations and are used to store the raw materials (like forged valve bodies etc). The store is dished up by two fork-lift-stacker cranes and motor roller conveyors. It has a capacity of 80 storage containers.

˜ Fixture store: The fittings that aren't stored in FMS are stored here. It has a capacity of holding 120 fixtures. The store is served by a stacker crane and electric motor roller conveyors.

Flexible Manufacturing System at TAMCAM Computer Aided Processing (TAMCAM) Laboratory.

This is an example of versatile developing system that is used to describe the TAMCAM Simulation-Based Control System (TSCS)[6]. This technique is located within the TAMCAM Computer Aided Manufacturing (TAMCAM) laboratory.

The system includes three CNC milling machines, one CNC making centre, two commercial robots, and an computerized cart based mostly conveyor system.

In addition to the automated equipment, human providers are used to load and unload some machines and perform assemblage and inspection duties.

Advantages of Flexible Making System

Why would firms embrace flexible production systems? What benefits does indeed FMS provide? Answers to both of these questions are important to the success of flexible manufacturing systems. It's important to comprehend the influences on product life routine, direct labour source and market characteristics.

Various advantages come up from using adaptable production systems. [7] Users of the systems enlist benefits:

* Less scrap

* Fewer workstations

* Quicker changes of tools, dies, and stamping machinery

* Reduced downtime

* Better quality through better control over it

* Reduced labour costs due to increase in labour productivity

* Upsurge in machine efficiency

* Reduced work-in-process inventories

* Increased capacity

* Increased production flexibility

* Faster production

* Lower- cost/unit

* Increased system reliability

* Adaptability to CAD/CAM operations

Since personal savings from these benefits are sizeable, a plethora of samples from the manufacturing industry can be found to demonstrate these benefits.

"A major Japanese manufacturer, by installing a flexible creation system, has reduced the number of machines in one service from 68 to 18, the amount of employees from 215 to 12, space requirements from 103000 rectangular foot to 30000 and digesting time from 35 times to a 1. 5 days"

"Ford has poured $4, 400, 000 into overhauling its Torrence Avenue plant in Chicago, providing it flexible making capability. This allows the factory to add new models in as little as two weeks instead of 8 weeks or longer. The adaptable manufacturing systems used in five of Ford Engine Company's vegetation will deliver a $2. 5 billion personal savings. By the entire year 2010, Ford will have changed 80 percent of its crops to flexible developing. "

The benefits enlisted above are the operational benefits. [8] Flexible Making Systems also bring about benefits in terms of strategy for the firm.

Operational Benefits

Strategic Benefits

Lower Costs per unit

A source of competitive benefits in present and future.

Lesser workstations

Less space in flower required.

Reduced Inventories

Less of Storage Space. Plant Layout gets simplified. The space is freed up for other activities.

Increase in labour productivity

Lesser labor force required.

Operational Flexibility

Ability to meet varying customer requirements in conditions of statistics (seasonality) and choices.

Improved Quality

Increased customer satisfaction

Less inspection costs

Lesser lead time

Increased Machine Efficiency

Less technical workforce for handling maintenance and repair

Less Scrap and Rework

Consistent Development Process

On a macro level, these advantages decrease the risk of buying the flexible production system as well as in ongoing projects in that firm.

Let us look at how flexibility helps firms. To maximize production for a given amount of gross capacity, you need to minimize the interruptions anticipated to machine breakdowns and the source should be fully utilized. FMS permits the minimization of stations unavailability, and shorter repair times when stations fail. Preventive maintenance is done to reduce volume of breakdowns. Maintenance is performed during off time. This helps to maximize development time. Cost of maintaining spare part inventories is also reduced due to the fact that similar equipment can share components. Hence we can easily see that higher the degree of versatility of the workstation, the lower the potential cost of creation capacity anticipated to place unavailability.

To make a product every day, the trade - off between inventory cost and set up cost becomes important. However, each and every time the workstation changes its function, it incurs a set-up delay. Through flexibility one can reduce this set-up cost. [9]

CAD/CAM supports computerized tracking of work flow which is helpful in setting inspection throughout the procedure. This helps to reduce the amount of parts which require rework or which must be scrapped. FMS changes the view of inspection from a post-position for an in-process position. Hence, opinions is available in real-time which improves quality and helps product to be within the tolerance level. [10]

Flexible creation systems (FMS) are practically always used in conjunction with just-in-time (JIT) order systems. This combination escalates the throughput and reduces throughput time and the amount of time required to transform materials into products.

Flexible Production Systems have a made a huge impact on activity-based costing. [11] Using these systems helps firms to change to process charging instead of job costing. This turning is made possible due to reduced installation delays. With set-up time only a little fraction of past levels, companies have the ability to move between products and careers with about the same speed as though they were working in continuous, process type environment.

To take a look at another aspect of proper benefits, enterprise integration can be facilitated by FMS. An agile supplier is one who is the most effective to the market, operates with the lowest total cost and gets the greatest capacity to "delight" its customers. FMS is simply one way that manufacturers have the ability to accomplish that agility. [12] It has also been reported in many studies that FMS makes the move to agility faster and easier. Over time, FMS use creates a positive attitude towards quality. The product quality management procedures in organizations using FMS differs from those not utilizing it.

The adoption of flexible creation confers advantages that are mainly based after economies of scope. Due to aiming concurrently at flexibility, quality and efficiency, the near future processing industry will strive towards: producing to order, almost no stock, very high quality levels, and high efficiency. [13]

Disadvantages of Flexible Developing System[14]

Now that people have looked at the multiple advantages versatile creation systems offer, another evident question is, if they're so good and so useful then why are they not ubiquitous by now? It is essential to look at the other area, especially the impact these systems have on costing, product mixes determined by the company and the unavoidable trade- off between creation rates and versatility.

Following are the major disadvantages which may have been observed


These sophisticated making systems are really complex and require a great deal of considerable pre planning activity before the jobs are in fact processed. A lot of detail has to go in to the control. Often users face scientific problems of exact component positioning. Moreover, correct timing is necessary to process a component.

Cost of equipment[15]

Equipment for aflexiblemanufacturingsystem will usually initially become more expensive than traditional equipment and the prices normally come across millions of dollars. This cost is popularly known as the Risk of Installation.

Maintenance costs are usually higher than traditional developing systems because FMS uses extensive use of preventive maintenance, which alone is very costly to put into action. Energy costs will tend to be higher despite more efficient use of energy.

Increased machine usage can bring about faster deterioration of equipment, providing a shorter than average monetary life. Also, staff training costs may end up being relatively high. Furthermore there is the excess problem of selecting system size, hardware and software tailor made for the FMS.

Cost of automation in the form of computer integration is the most important cost in a flexible production system. The components require considerable computer control. Also, the expenses of procedure are high since a machine of this complexity requires evenly skilled employees to work or run it.

Adaptation Issues

There is limited ability to adjust to changes in product or product mix. For example, machines are of limited capacity and the tooling essential for products, even of the same family, is not necessarily feasible in a given FMS. Moreover, you need to keep in brain these systems do not reduce variability, just permit far better handling of the variability.

Equipment Utilization

Equipment usage for flexible making systems is sometimes not as high needlessly to say. Example, in USA, the common is ten types of parts per machine. Other latent problems may happen due to lack of technological literacy, management incompetence, and poor implementation of the FMS process. It is vital to identify between scenarios where FMS would be beneficial (former mate, where fast version is the main element) and the ones where it wouldn't (former mate where a firm's competency is based on minimizing cost).

Product/Job Priced at[16]

Arguably the largest disadvantage of adaptable developing systems is the issue faced by the company in allocating overhead costs to jobs. Usually, several products promote the same resources with different use characteristics. Preferably, the over head allocation should be directly proportional to the learning resource consumption. But this becomes complicated in the case of flexible making systems since it is very difficult to estimate which product used which machine for which purpose and then for the length of time. Often this causes under costing of some products and consequently over costing of others.

In systems that use FMS, usually the fixed costs are quite high because of the following reasons:

* The machines are costly, material handling is more costly and the computer controls are high tech, thereby resulting in a higher depreciation than observed in traditional processing systems.

* A whole lot of items which are often usually cured as immediate costs are counted under indirect costs in case of flexible developing systems. For example, labour is normally attributed to the work directly done, however in FMS, the same workers work on machines that always run two careers simultaneously. Hence even labour costs are to be treated as over head or indirect costs.

* In order to ensure smooth jogging of the flexible processing systems, a great deal of support activities completed by technicians and technicians.

Keeping the aforementioned points at heart, we can infer that to be able to cater to these situations, Activity Based Charging techniques are used with FMS to reduce distortion of product costs.

FMS Adoption in Automobile Industry

The Flexible creation system has been adopted extensively in the creation industry in this day and age. It addresses the issue of automation and process technology which really is a key area for matter of processing management along with inventory production planning and arranging and quality.

One industry which has extensively adopted this system is the auto Industry. Almost all global giants now follow the Flexible Developing system and many are suffering from their own manufacturing system keeping FMS as a fundamental element of it.

The Big Three of the American Automotive Industry namely Basic Motors, Ford Motors and Chrysler Motors relished a monopolistic environment for a very long time. This in some way inhibited their advancement capabilities as there was no competition on the market that could drive those to innovate. These companies, therefore, maintained production facilities that were ideal for mass development of any solo model, which ensured economies of size and plant success. But steadily as Asian car creators gained prominence in the motor vehicle market, the best Three of america faced huge difficulties across all products. The primary Asian rivals that came into picture were Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi from Japan and Hyundai from South Korea. With these Parts of asia exporting vehicles to the United States of America, competition heightened and the profitability of the top Three decreased. To boost its profitability and maintain its market share Chrysler Corporation, Standard Motors and Ford Motor Company applied Flexible Developing System in their development lines following what have been were only available in Japan.

The essential generating pressure for adoption of FMS in Car industry is

1. The focus on increasing product variety and individualization has generated a strong need to build up a flexible manufacturing system to react to small batches of customer demand.

2. Cost benefits were necessary to be more competitive. Newer varieties needed to be introduced in minimal time and at less cost.

Given below are types of some companies and their motive for implementing FMS as well as the huge benefits they have achieved through it

Japanese Companies and Latest FMS


Toyota has been at the forefront of implementing flexible production system which includes been in place since 1985. In 2002, Toyota unveiled its Global Body Range (GBL), a radical, company-wide overhaul of its already much-envied FMS. [17] The GBL process originated so Toyota could put into practice the vehicle-assembly "platform" at any and all of its worldwide set up locations - irrespective of volume or approach to set up. GBL helps Toyota to meet its goal "To seamlessly create our products in virtually any country, at any size"

The advantages that GBL gives over the old FBL system of Toyota are

* 30% reduction of the time a vehicle spends in the body shop.

* 70% reduction in time required to complete a major model change.

* 50% slash in the cost to add or swap models.

* 50% decrease in first investment.

* 50% decrease in assembly series footprint.

* 50% decrease in carbon dioxide emissions due to lessen energy utilization.

* 50% chop in maintenance costs.

More than 20 of Toyota's 24 worldwide body lines already have been converted, and the rest either are along the way of transformation or will be refitted for GBL together with approaching model changes.

Operations in Toyota

Older Flexible Body Range (FBL) System :

Each vehicle would require three pallets - each securely gripping the major bodyside assemblage or the roof covering assembly and assuring its adherence to dimensional hard tips - as the body sections travelled through the various levels of welding to the floorpan and also to each other. Three pallets limited the number of vehicles that might be in the build series at any moment - in a few plants the number was 50. Also, the look of the pallets - which placed the bodysides and rooftop panels from the outside - limited the access of welding robots and required a great deal of floor space. Planners had to "think" about how exactly many pallets to develop and work that guess into the plant's vehicle blend (FBL-equipped vegetation could handle as many as five the latest models of). Bad guesses about pallet allocation were very costly. Also, quick a reaction to a big change of production combine was discouraged by the 3-pallet system.

Newer Global Body Line (GBL) System :

GBL design solves those problems by updating FBL's three pallets with a single pallet, one which now holds all three major body panels from the within. This "master pallet, " structure eliminates the need for predicting primary pallet demand. Since each model or variant requires only the lone pallet, moving over new models in or from the production blend is a breeze. Thus the 70% reduction in time required to accomplish a model change[18]. GBL doubles the quantity of floor space that may be occupied by robots, and, on the GBL head to here, every inches appears to be used. Inside the Georgetown herb of Toyota, the floor space freed by GBL allows another GBL range - aiding the seed achieve a lately released capacity increase to 500, 000 items.

Highly advanced robots are central to leveraging the benefits of the GBL design - the system was designed to make the the majority of new-generation body shop robots that are smaller, more exact and more energy efficient. The amount of robots has increased from about 250 to nearly 350.

GBL system is improved by primary vehicle designs that ensure commonality for various hardpoints. This makes it easier to hold a variety of models: GBL-ready vegetation now can build as many as eight, alternatively than five with the FBL system.

However even with the capability to produce eight the latest models of, there is a limit to GBL's versatility. Once pressed, technicians acknowledge that not everything Toyota makes, from Vitz to Land Cruiser, can be produced about the same GBL line. There are two sizes, one for small and medium vehicles, one to accommodate anything much larger.


Nissan has had the opportunity to facilitate a whole financial turnaround in 2008-09 based on optimum making efficiency and cost efficiency achieved through expanded use of FMS.

Nissan uses common set up lines and FMS to keep production fluid. In the body shop they may have one body main and respot collection, which is fed by various floor and body-side lines. Emil Hassan, senior vice leader of making, purchasing, quality and logistics for Nissan North America Inc, talks about that the great things about this are evident - reduced living area, reduced capital investment for changeovers and a more agile response to changing market conditions. [19] They recognize that FMS enables them to lower lead time and investment in half when starting new models, permitting them to react to changing market conditions quickly and flexibly.

Nissan is rolling out its own Nissan Integrated Creation System (NIMS). In India they are really utilizing the same NIMS at their Chennai plant using the name AIMS - Alliance Integrated Creation System[20]. AIMS is a flexible production system which creates common assembly processes between plants and, in this case, between companies (Nissan and Renault) so that similar websites can be shifted easily and cost-effectively. The system contains welding, painting and final assembly operations along with shot molding and stamping.

Honda Engine Company

The Marysville vegetable of Honda in THE UNITED STATES was the first service in the united states that allowed Honda Motors to build minivans and SUV's along on a single line. This is achieved scheduled to FMS that was applied in the vegetable in the entire year 2000. With FMS in place, it becomes very easy for Honda Motors to create any small-size to mid-size model, to adapt vehicle mix also to present new models in the center. The ultimate goal of the business was to lessen the new product circuit from four years to about two-and-a-half, cuffing investment costs by as much as 50 percent[21]. The competitive advantages that Honda plays on is the fact FMS helps it concentrate on process innovation whereas almost all of the competitors give attention to product advancement.

The implementation of FMS in the Honda seed helped it in the following ways[22]:

* Honda's North American automobile assembly plant life are operating with an unprecedented level of overall flexibility to meet customer demand. Honda has nine North American auto set up lines at seven place sites processing 16 unique models.

* By developing overall flexibility into each brand, Honda can balance consumer demand with development. With this come the additional benefits of efficient use of resources and better capacity usage.

American Companies and Latest FMS


Chrysler was challenged by the topic- oriented motor vehicle market, and its own proposed solution was to raise the number of models it provides while decreasing the administrative centre investment. Moreover, they recognized a market with unpredictable demand requires a rapid processing response[23]. To meet these objectives, Chrysler thought of implementing Flexible Creation System in its production line.

Chrysler believes the main element to flexibility lies in standardization. The versatile creation system (FMS) that is applied in all vegetation of Chrysler relies intensely on a standardized bill-of-processes (BoP) and on a typical body-shop design predicated on modern robotics.

The FMS Bill-of-Process (BoP) offers a common processing system for most of Chrysler's crops that's designed to drive processing quality and efficient product design. Standardization includes common functional sequences, dimensional strategy, and suggestions for machines and tooling.

The design of a versatile body shop model is achieved through robotics. Earlier, there were vehicle specific toolings which built and welded the panels. This was economical only when there was only one model to produce. With an increase of than one model to be produced the changeover becomes very expensive. As competition heightened and the necessity to produce multiple models arose, this technique became obsolete and robots required its place.

To ensure that right parts go directly to the right model, an information system is used. This software system is the backbone of all flexible plant life built on the FMS model. A arranging sequencing system which is a Kanban take system links data from machine controllers, including individual PLCs, so that as subassemblies are created they have a particular car associated with it.

Chrysler has applied flexible developing at SHAP, Belvidere, Brampton, Windsor and its St. Louis herb.

Operations at Chrysler:

In 2003, Windsor Set up became one of the first Chrysler vegetation to use the flexible processing strategy and in 2005 FMS was rolled out in the Belvidere place. In 2004 when Chrysler Pacifica's development initiated, it was produced on the same production range as its Grand Caravan and Minivan. This was the very first time when a Chrysler Group manufacturing unit could produce two different products on the development line. The launch of the system in the processing allowed the flexibility to develop three or more completely different types of cars within a vegetable which is greater than the typical one or two types of models produced per seed by U. S. automobile makers. This technique made sure that the same production system enable you to build sedans, convertibles, minivans, SUV's and sport tourers. The main element to Chrysler Group's versatile production is the order where the body is built, by using a unique underbody palette system in the body shop[24].

Benefits achieved through FMS:

* Amid heavy competition, FMS helped Chrysler to reduce its cost of creation and thereby enhancing its profit margins. On the other hand its competition like Standard Motors and Ford have to lessen prices to stay competitive which eventually afflicted their gains.

* Relating to Chrysler, FMS reduced the amount of workers in the torso assembly. It also helped the business to easily transfer autos to different crops[25].

* Flexible Creation System helped increased the plant to work near its maximum capacity. This adds to the profitability in a capital rigorous industry like automotives.

* With adaptable developing, the Chrysler Group said it'll save practically $100 million for the Pacifica introduction while simultaneously reducing tooling and facilities capital expenditures by roughly 40 percent[26].

* FMS will lead to better capacity utilization and hence the company can meet the market demand more quickly and with less cost. This will strengthen the competitive position of Chrysler on the market.

* FMS provided Chrysler the ability to increase or reduce the production capacity easily according to the market demand.

* The company's flexible initiatives support the addition of five services to the current long-range product plan and will help the company to achieve its objective of producing additional one million products by 2011[27].

General Motors

One of the key tactical initiatives by GM includes the intro of a new FMS called C-Flex. C-Flex is a programmable body shop tooling system where multiple versions of assemblies such as floor pans, deck lids, hoods and engine compartments can be manufactured using the same group of tools and robots simply by reprogramming the tool. [28] This led to significant cost advantages and also reduced body shop size by as much as 150, 000 sq. foot. Earlier, introducing a new model like the SRX would normally cost $150 million. GM helped bring SRX on line for about $30 million. Succeeding programs may cost less because the original investment has already been made.

Operations at Basic Motors

Materials are given to the cell down one of the different lines allowing for variations in one job to another. The machine is monitored with a laptop computer, which checks and displays all the operations instantly. Shimming is performed electronically, with the operator stepping into data that moves the tool up or down, eliminating the necessity to shim yourself. The computer also catalogs all the changes.


Ford Electric motor Co. has applied Flexible Creation System to deploy adaptable, agile system in its development line. Ford's adaptable processing systems include machining of powertrain components plus adding versatility to the automaker's body shop, color, and final set up operations.

Ford has put in place FMS on three levels[29]:

* By Models: Various models coming out of the same platform

* Blend: Changing set up plant volumes through existing production cells

* Quick Changeovers: versatile systems allowing Ford to improve product and size faster in response to quickly changing market demands

The critical elements of Ford's Flexible Manufacturing System are adaptable powertrain machining, robots load cylinder heads, adaptable fixturing to enable quick turning of CNC equipment for machining and part traceability and quality control to improve overall product quality.

Benefits achieved through FMS

* When FMS was implemented, Ford likely to realize initial cost savings of 10 - 15%, up to 50% cost reductions on mid-cycle changeovers, and practically $2 billion in cost savingsover one 10 years[30]. The savings become visible when Ford must complete a face-lift or revamp a model, conserving about 55% as compared with the expenses of your nonflexible plant.

* It helped the company to answer quickly to the changing market also to the customer requirements.

* It empowered the company to get better capacity usage.

* The other features of FMS - fewer workstations; quicker changes of tools, dies and stamping machinery; and common set up tactics - have been able to reduce downtime and improve quality.

Flexible Work Processes

Now after getting a Flexible Making System in place, it cannot function in isolation. The office has to make its other procedures and work conditions conducive enough to use full advantage of FMS. There are a great number of other design parameters mixed up in decision making process.

It is very important for every manager in charge of FMS to address the question "What are the actions an FMS adopter has to carry out in order not and then put into practice an FMS but also to understand the essential organizational conditions; and what are the options for the adopter to organize this manufacturing technology process effectively?" Stating a few types of the extraneous factors:

* Maintenance Department

* Process planning, Creation planning, and quality control processes

* Individuals carrying out these processes and development resources used to make these procedures feasible

* The organizational plans used to split and coordinate the processes

[1] http://www. bsu. edu/web/gkgray/flexiblemanufacturing. htm

[2] http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Flexible_manufacturing_system

[3] http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Flexible_manufacturing_system

[4]http://www. emeraldinsight. com/Insight/ViewContentServlet?Filename=Published/EmeraldFullTextArticle/Articles/0880080606. html

[5] http://images. google. co. in/imgres?imgurl=http://lh4. ggpht. com:

[6] http://images. google. co. in/imgres?imgurl=http://tamcam. tamu. edu

[7] http://ieeexplore. ieee. org/stamp/stamp. jsp?arnumber=00065758

[8] http://www. uky. edu/~dsianita/611/fms. html

[9] http://www. enotes. com/encyclopediaofmanagement/flexiblemanufacturing. html

[10] http://ase. tufts. edu/econ/papsers/200019. pdf ; George Norman, "The Relative Advantages of Flexible versus Designated Developing Technologies"

[11] A versatile costing system for versatile creation systems using activity established costing

[12] http://www. informaworld. com/smpp/content~content=a713600706&db=all

[13] http://www. enotes. com/management-encyclopedia/flexible-manufacturing "Flexible Manufacturing", Encyclopaedia of Management, Ed. Marilyn M. Helms. Gale Cengage, 2006

[14] http://www. uky. edu/~dsianita/611/fms. html

[15] Flexible Production Systems; a primer on improving productivity while controlling cost, Article by Richard Cardinalli, USA

[16] A adaptable costing system for versatile making systems using activity based mostly costing, Article by Tamaas

[17] http://wardsautoworld. com/ar/auto_toyota_adopts_new/

[18] http://wardsautoworld. com/ar/auto_toyota_adopts_new/

[19] http://www. siteselection. com/ssinsider/snapshot/sf030526. htm

[20] http://wardsauto. com/ar/nissan_flexible_manufacturing_100203/

[21] Peter John, Automotive Industry, October 2002

[22] http://www. honda. com/newsandviews/report. aspx?g=issue-brief&id=4040

[23] Journal of Developing Engineering, September 2007 Volume level 139 No. 3

[24] Chrysler to begin with Flexible Making at Windsor Set up, Autoparts Report, December 19, 2002

[25] Boudette Neel & Shirouzu Norihiko, Amid Price Warfare, Chrysler to Revamp Production, The Wall Neighborhood Journal, August 2, 2005

[26] http://www. media. chrysler. com/newsrelease. do?id=8332&mid=18

[27] Chrysler to begin with Flexible Making at Windsor Assembly, Autoparts Report, Dec 19, 2002

[28] http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m3012/is_1_183/ai_97176148/

[29] Waurzyniak Patrick, Ford's Flexible Push, Manufacturing Executive September 2003 Vol. 131 No. 3

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