Requirements for the Design of flexible and changeable manufacturing and Assembly Systems: a SME-survey
Russo Spena P
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Increasingly complex market dynamics due to unpredictable forecasts and shorter innovation cycles require maximum flexibility from production companies and their manufacturing systems. A manufacturing system should not only produce high-quality products at the lowest possible price; it should also be able to react quickly to market changes and consumers preferences. After the implementation in large enterprises belonging to the automotive sector and other related sectors, the concept of flexibility and changeability has been introduced in small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). In recent years, the concept of flexibility and changeability was object of research and industry. Current research in manufacturing pays great attention to flexibility and changeability in manufacturing and assembly systems. Therefore, research and investigations are needed to analyze the requirements for the design of flexible and changeable manufacturing and assembly systems in SMEs in order to define simple and practically suitable design guidelines. This research analyzes the nature of environmental changes, which SMEs are currently facing, due to a questionnaire-based survey. This research paper summarizes the results of the survey, executed with 27 SME companies in North Italy, showing the main requirements for the design of flexible and changeable manufacturing and assembly systems.