Flexibility and agility are principles increasingly necessary and used in current automotive manufacturing processes due to the market paradigm change, going from mass production to customized one. Some countries, where the human labour cost is very attractive, design processes depending essentially on the workers’ performance. However, some risks can be induced by the use of intensive labour due to uncertainties related to human behaviour and fatigue. Small assembly operations comprising a large variety of models and short cycle time are usually carried out manually, due to their flexibility and agility. However, critical factors such as quality, commitment with the delivery time, and increase of labour costs become attractive factors to start developing flexible and agile equipment that allows simple set-up, short cycle time, and traceability. Robotics is widely used to cover these purposes, but the required space to operate with a robot and the cost involved (which will need tools as an automatic equipment) make unfeasible its use in some applications.
The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 4, 2017
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