South African Journal of Industrial Engineering
On-line version ISSN 1012-277X
PADAYACHEE, J. and BRIGHT, G.. The design of reconfigurable assembly stations for high variety and mass customisation manufacturing. S. Afr. J. Ind. Eng. [online]. 2013, vol.24, n.3, pp. 43-57. ISSN 1012-277X.
The economical production of mass customised and high variety goods is a challenge facing modern manufacturers. This challenge is being addressed, in part, by the on-going development of technologies that facilitate the manufacturing of these goods. Existing technologies require either excessive inbuilt flexibility or frequent changes to the machine set up to provide the manufacturing functions required for the customisation process. This paper presents design principles for automated assembly stations within the scope of mass customisation. Design principles are presented that minimise the hardware and operating complexities of assembly stations, allowing stations to be easily automated for concurrent mixed model assembly with a First In First Out (FIFO) scheduling policy. A reconfigurable assembly station is developed to demonstrate how the proposed design methods simplify the creation and operation of an assembly station for a product family of flashlights.