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Process Feasibility and System Configuration

The goal of the “Process Feasibility and System Configuration” module is to support the rapid earlystage
design of the assembly system and to properly integrate RLW stations in the system, thus
allowing to fully exploiting the potentials of RLW. A brief summary of the “Process feasibility and
System Configuration module” module is presented below:

sysconfig

Figure 1. “Process Feasibility and System Configuration” Module Architecture

OBJECTIVE
To develop an integrated system configuration platform for modelling, analysis and optimization of
hybrid assembly systems including RSW and RLW processes.


CAPABILITY

  • Hybrid assembly lines including RLW and RSW welding operations
  • The effect of component unreliability and uncertainty on the system KPIs
  • Multi-product assembly lines, with part type dependent cycle times.

IMPACT

  • Reduce assembly system design time during the NPI process
  • Improve the solution feasibility by optimization carried out studying more potential configurations in less time
  • Identify most promising candidate solutions maximizing the utilization of the RLW workstation.

APPLICATION

  • Assembly system design
  • System quoting and planning
  • System reconfiguration after significant changes in the system requirements.

TOOLS

The “Process Feasibility and System Configuration” module is also the first interface with the system
designer. The input data for this module are as follows:

  1. Production models and product related information, including stitch layout;
  2. Target production volumes & throughput;
  3. Database of resources, with their nominal reliability parameters, process capabilities, space and cost requirements; and,
  4. Basic operational cost factors (e.g. workforce, maintenance, floor space costs).

Grounding on these input data, the “Process feasibility and System Configuration” module analyzes
system configurations to achieve a minimum requirement on throughput while minimizing multiple
objectives including the number of resources (buffers & robots), costs, energy, and floor space. The
main outputs of this module consist of the:

  1. Layout concept;
  2. Basic concept and contents of the RLW workstation, number of robots, robot model, and workload (set of stitches);
  3. Maximum value of the total time the RLW station requires to process one part that can ensure process feasibility in terms of productivity requirements, also considering machines’ reliability;
  4. Optimal buffer sizes and the key performance indicators (KPIs) of the evaluated configurations. This then feeds into the Workstation Planning module.

The above is achieved within the “Process feasibility and System Configuration” module by two interacting sub-modules (simulation tools), namely Assembly Layout & Process Estimator and System Configuration Optimiser.

Recongif

Figure 2 .Examples of proposed initial reconfigurations of the JLR assembly lines, further optimized
by the Process Feasibility and System Configuration module.