STARGAME the handbook


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STARGAME the handbook

  1. 1. All rights reserved © Preben Hjørnet, PH Inception. STARGAME Aim High and Play by the Rules of Innovation Preben Hjørnet PH Inception Innovative Automation Strandby, Denmark Preben.hjornet@gmail.comAbstractInnovation comes in many descries, it’s a competence ; a cabability, a process ; a value, you mightEnterprises more than ever operate in a changing world and, hence, they must improve their changeproficiency with respect to market adoption, product and service portfolio, and with respect to manufacturingfunctions. First, the paper takes up the discussion of the relation between market, products & services andcapabilities of the company functions for companies operating in a changing and competitive environment.This discussion leads to an identification of enabling activities which are to prepare companies for the future.Second, the paper in particular discusses characteristics of enabling manufacturing capabilities for managinga change proficient enterprise. A concept of eight characteristics is presented, called STARGAME, as anabbreviation for Scalability, Transparency, Agility, Robustness, Genericy, Adaptability, Modularity, andEconomic Efficiency. Each characteristic of the STARGAME concept is defined and presented by tangibleexamples. An outline of concrete enabling technologies, which fulfil the suggested characteristics ispresented; e.g. robots, machine visions, flexible feeders, etc. The major finding of this paper is a usefulconcept to innovators and technicians for developing new technology platforms, and as a concept to decisionmakers for managing the technology development in creating a change proficient enterprise.KeywordsAgile Manufacturing, Enabling Manufacturing Technologies, Flexible Manufacturing Systems, DesignPrinciples, Management of Technology, Mass Customisation.1 IntroductionEnterprises of today more than ever face changing conditions for them to do their businesses in. The marketis as dynamic as ever; customers demand differentiated products and services, cost-profit margins arenarrowing, and the company functions are becoming more and more fragmented, due to for exampledecentralizations and/or outsourcing. With the unpredictable and increased pace of changes it is no longersufficient for companies just to concentrate on reducing costs (by e.g. lean principles) – they also have tothink about how to stay in business. History has several examples of companies making money right up tothe day they became irrelevant (Clayton Christensen). Hence, the success for a company today has neverbefore been so depend on how well the company can adjust and react to its surrounding ever-changingenvironment. Managers and scholars talk about the change proficient enterprise.On Figure 1.1 below the scene in which companies must operate is illustrated. The market is constantlyevolving, and hence, it is important for companies to identify and adapt to new trends in the market.Consequently, products and services must likewise evolve continuously to fulfil the new marked conditions.To be fast on the market is extremely important as to gain the most profit of a new market. Any leaning backresting on current successes will inevitable lead to a misfit between the product and services offered andwhat soughed-after in the market. If this misfit is realized too late it (may) leads to lost earnings and in worstcases it will be catastrophically for the company.
  2. 2. Today Future Sale Constantly changing markets Time Market Market Customers Company Mission Time t isfi i al m ent Pot Product and Service Evolutions Product and services Product and services Product and Service Portfolio Strategy isfit ent ial m Pot Enabling activities towards Company functions improved change proficiency Company functions R&D R&D Procurement Procurement Part manufacturing Part manufacturing Assembly Assembly Marketing Marketing Distribution Distribution Functional Capability Strategy Figure 1.1. The relations between marked, products and services, and company functions in a changing andcompetitive environment. Enabling activities are illustrated as puzzle bricks as they symbolise the bits and pieces which must form the future appearance of the company’s functions.As products and services change also the apparatus for manufacturing these new products and services mustchange. It is a major point of the present paper that product and service innovations not alone will originatefrom R&D activities solely focusing on products and services. Intensive focus must also be concentrated oninnovation of the company functions in general, and in specifically the capabilities of the productionfunctions (component manufacturing, assembly, packing, and the like) and the enabling technologiesgoverning these functions. Hence, this paper aims at identifying and discussing characteristics of enablingmanufacturing capabilities which companies must have in mind in order to improve its change proficiency.STARGAME 2
  3. 3. 2 Identification of Enabling ActivitiesWhat activities should be initiated today in order to be ready for future requirements? With Figure 1.1 asthe starting framework for understanding the context in which companies operate the following sectiondiscusses what priorities should be in focus and how enabling activities can be identified.2.1 Competitive PrioritiesAn absolute description of future markets is of cause not possible to give, still, it is important to have an ideaof the developments in the market. Generally, the current trend is that the market is ever-changing and beingfirst movers are hence extremely important. This calls for innovation, flexibility, and proactivity as importantcompetitive priorities. Besides these issues, cost, time and quality are still also important to focus on. Alsoterms like political correctness, moral and ethics have for some years been in focus, which affects companyimage and its ability to operate as a sound company. The above reasoning is supported by the concept ofcompetitive priorities, see Figure 2.1, which are discussed by several authors (…, …, …), among whichthere is general agreement that seven priorities exist. Proactivity Soundness Innovation Flexibility Time Quality Cost 60s 70s 80s 90s 2000 + Figure 2.1. Historical development of enterprise competitive priorities.In the effort of identifying the enabling initiatives for a company it is important to determine the derivativesof the priorities as they lead to the company’s primary functional capabilities. As illustrated on Figure 1.1 acompany comprises of several functions, and hence, for each function primary capabilities can be set-upbased on the derivatives of the competitive priorities in focus. For example, one company may be operatingon a marked where cost of the products and the delivery performance are of most importance, and hence, thiscompany must concentrates on activities improving efficiency and on reducing lead time in production.Another company may for example be producing products where new features of the product and thepossible range of product configurations are the most important competitive priorities. Such a companytherefore has to focus on capabilities like innovation speed, fast change over of production and the ability todeploy new products/features fast and seamlessly on the marked.2.2 Mapping, analysis and formulation of strategiesIt is considerations like the above which companies must take in order to maintain a change proficientprofile. In relation to the context illustrated on Figure 1.1 the following six activities constitutes theminimum effort for understanding the current situation and identifying future capabilities: 1. Mapping of current marked 2. Analysis of future market trends/patterns (watch out for traditional market analysis, as the market may not even be defined) 3. Formulation of company missionSTARGAME 3
  4. 4. 4. Mapping of current product and service portfolio 5. Analysis of required product and service portfolio characteristics 6. Formulation of product and service portfolio strategy 7. Mapping of current capability of company functions 8. Analysis of required capabilities of company functions 9. Formulation of enabling functional capability strategy.Based on the company mission and the product and service portfolio strategy a functional capability strategycan be formulated, outlining the competences and technologies required for reaching the future states of thecompany’s functions, see Figure 1.1. Hence, for example what kind of technology should be focused on,what new investments must be made, what new developments are required, etc? In this context managementof technology is important as to secure that operative levels in the company follow the strategy laid forward.This, for example, in order to prevent that certain technology (e.g. a machine or other equipment) notpossessing the required characteristics, as in relation to the strategy, is being purchased by decentralisedfunctions in the company.Once again it should be mentioned that the authors of the present paper see technology as the key factor ofmeeting companies’ future capabilities. For a manufacturing company aiming at profitable growth byoffering products and services in a competitive and ever-changing market, a constant focus on andinvestments in knowledge and advanced technology are inevitable. Hence, special focus must be made onthe company’s functions which rely (directly or indirectly) on technology and in specifically to focus onenabling technologies for making the company change-proficient is important. So, although a holisticapproach to the company’s functional capabilities is important, the present paper focus on capabilities forfunctions related to manufacturing, as for example part manufacturing, assembly, material handling, andpacking. We call these functional capabilities for enabling manufacturing capabilities.3 Enabling Manufacturing CapabilitiesAs argued in the preceding section the derivatives of the competitive priorities are important to know of, asthey lead to the enabling functional capabilities. With respect to the manufacturing functions a total of eightcapabilities have been identified; Manufacturing functions of future enterprises must be able: • to add and remove capacity and capabilities • to share, exchange and present information where-ever and when-ever at any level • to preserve optimised production under changing conditions • to prevent and resist failures and reduced performance • to minimize the necessary effort and time needed to change the production system by applying non- specific and multipurpose equipment. • to respond on demands and changes fast and seamlessly • to rearrange, reconfigure and integrate systems fast and easily • to ensure robust (long term) investmentsEach of the above eight capabilities are transformed into eight descriptive characteristics: Scalability – Transparency – Adaptability – Robustness – Genericy – Agility – Mobility – EconomicallyThe eight characteristics constitute the STARGAME concept, which then becomes a term for expressing theeight most important capabilities of a change proficient company, see Figure 3.1. The concept must beunderstood in a production holistic manner and can be applied on all levels of the production hierarchy,hence, ranging from sensor and actuator level to the plant level. See Figure 3.2 for a definition of theSTARGAME 4
  5. 5. production system hierarchy. Each of the eight characteristics may be weighted and interpreted differently onthe various production levels and therefore, results in different physical implementations. Scalability Economically Transparency Modularity Adaptability Robustness Agility Genericy Goal CurrentFigure 3.1. STARGAME – the eight most important capabilities of the change proficient company. A measuring web is used to evaluate systems current state in relation to future required states. Figure 3.2. Production system hierarchy.Besides being a concept for expressing companies’ future capabilities STARGAME is meant as a tool forboth evaluating and designing manufacturing systems. This tool is a comparative tool for giving anindication of the relative position of the current system’s capabilities in relation to what is required. This ideais in Figure 3.1 illustrated by a measuring web for positing current and future states respectively.For each level in the production system hierarchy the STARGAME concept can then be applied to evaluatethe level’s ability to live up to each of the characteristics mentioned, and hence, finding the level’s state ofchange proficiency. The concept, thus, becomes a tool for managers to identify areas to which specialattention must be paid, and as a paradigm for innovators and technicians in developing new technologyplatforms and physicals equipment.STARGAME 5
  6. 6. 4 STARGAMEEach of the eight STARGAME characteristics is on the following pages elaborated further. For eachcharacteristic first a closer definition is given, followed by an outline of the potentials of applying thecharacteristic and finally tangible examples are outlined.4.1 ScalabilityDefinition of scalabilityThe definition of scalability is the ability to deploy or remove capacity and capabilities easily and fast with aminimum of effort in the production system. Capacity is interpreted as more of the same resources, e.g. anadditional machine in parallel or in series to the existing machines. Capability is regarded as a resource withan ability which is not currently implemented into the system, i.e. an additional competence. In the figurebelow the principle of scalability is illustrated by a process flow diagram. a) P1 P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 b) P1 P2 P3 P4 P7 P5 P6 Additional capability P3 Additional capacity Figure 4.1. Scalability. The figure (b) illustrates the principle of deploying respectively a new resource (additional capacity) and a new competence (additional capability) to an existing flow of processes (a).Potentials of scalabilityIncorporation of scalability into the production system is important for having a change proficient(production) system, in order to fast and seamlessly to either ramp up or ramp down of capacity due to forexample the current product demand situation. Another example is when introducing new product features, aspecial type of process may be necessary, and hence also new competences are require. By being scaleablethe addition or removal of resources or/and competences to the system can be carried out fast and with aminimum of effort. This is important in order to minimise the inconvenience and time spend of interruptingthe running production and in order to maximise the earnings of the value adding system, hence shorteningthe time to market and time to volume period. Furthermore, it is possible to react on changes much closer tothe actual need of change when the system is scalable, i.e. the horizon (and hence the uncertainty) offorecasts can be reduced as the reactability/change-proficiency is improved.Examples of scalabilityAs an example of a scalable production system an insert injection moulding machine cell is presented. Insertinjection moulding requires that an insert part is placed in the injection mould in the injection mouldingmachine. This operation can with advantage be carried out in co-operation between a part feeding device, arobot and the injection moulding machine, see Figure 4.2 below. In situation a) a layout of a typical massproduction cell is illustrated. Here efficiency and costs has been in focus. If, however, scalability at the initialdesign phase has been thought into the cell structure and the physical equipment, situation b), the cell can beenlarged/scaled relatively fast and easy. In situation c) in Figure 4.2 both an additional injection mouldingmachine and a new process in the form of a decoration machine (could be tampon print or laser marking) hasbeen added to the cell.The individual equipment in the cell must it self be scaleable. For example the part feeding devices in thethree situations have different levels of scalability. The vibration bowl feeder is a unique designed andSTARGAME 6
  7. 7. implemented piece of equipment, with a fixed maximum capacity and capability. On the other side, thevision based flexible part feeder1 can be easily duplicated if additional feeding capacity is needed. Anotheradvantage of the flexible part feeder is that its capability, i.e. its ability to feed new type of parts, is alsoeasily changed, as this is only a matter of changing the machine vision software. Opposed to that thevibration bowl feeder requires a hardware redesign and reconfiguration in order to feed different type ofparts. Similar consideration about scalability concerning the choice of robot can be argued, but have for thetime being been left out. Inadequately designed for scalability Designed for scalability = Machine vision Injection moulding Decoration Articulated e.g. laser or ink jet Aritculated Cartesian Robot Robot Robot Flex. Feeder Flex. FeederVibration bowl feeder Injection moulding Injection moulding Injection moulding a) Non scalable b) Before scale c) After scale Figure 4.2. Scalability. The figure shows examples of insert injection moulding cells each consisting of a robot, a part feeder and an injection moulding machine. Situation a) represents a cell where both capacities and capabilities are fixed and hence not easily scalable. Situation b) illustrates a cell which is designed for scalability. The same cell is illustrated in situation c) where an extra injection moulding machine and an automatic decoration machine has been added to the cell. Hence, both capacity and the capability of the cell have been increased.4.2 TransparencyDefinition of transparencyTransparency refers to the ability to share, exchange and present information where-ever and when-ever.Physically, transparency is interpreted as an information infrastructure, which integrates various systems byproviding interfaces and communication protocols. Transparency means that information can be retrievedfrom and transmitted in-between systems like for example:  sensors (barcode scanners, light sensors, machine vision, etc.)  machines and other equipment (process equipment, robots, transportation systems, etc)  databases (e.g. containing production or process data)  technical and administrative systems (e.g. planning systems, off-line programming system)  execution and control system (e.g. cell control systems, task dispatchers, quality inspection systems)  man machine interfaces (e.g. touch screens, palm pilots, cell phones, etc.).1 A vision based flexible part feeder is a class of feeders which feeds, manipulates and presents parts of various kinds.The feeder can be given various inputs which makes the surface of the feeder flip/bounce, move forward andbackwards, or combinations hereof. A number of commercial vision based flexible feeders are available. For anexample of one such visit the following internet site: 7
  8. 8. Transparency consequently requires that each individual entity (sensor, robot controller, process machine,etc.) in the production system should be transparent ready, meaning they should be prepared for sharing andreceiving information based on a common communication protocol like for example TCP/IP. See Figure4.3 for an illustration of a section of a transparent production system. Figure 4.3. Transparency. Physical information infrastructure making the production system transparent. [Schneider Electric]Potentials of transparencyLarge amount of data and information are available on the production shop floor and in its auxiliary relatedcompany functions. The information infrastructure will have a positive influence on the change proficiency,as the infrastructure provides the fundamental basis for communication of information. It, thus, supports asatisfactory exchange of information both interpersonal, man-machine, and machine-machine. Further, theinformation infrastructure becomes the technology which supports a collaborative working environment.On the shop floor a number of tasks include information preparation which often requires manual operation.By being transparent ready it is possible to automatically facilitate these common but vital operations, andhence, the reliability is improved as human errors can be avoided, and in general this means an enhancementof the quality of the information processes. Moreover, operation time is minimised as some operations can bemade parallel to others, thus reducing the set-up time. This again leads to improved operator efficiency, asthe operator will have time for other kinds of operations. Typical production related tasks which could besupported and improved by the transparency characteristic are for example; identification of material andsubparts, download of production data from databases (e.g. drawings, machine codes, recipes etc.),dispatching/delegation of production tasks to resources or operators, initiation of automatic resources, andmonitoring and supervision of resources and processes. Fully extended a transparent system opens forremote access of machines which require special trained service operators. Such machines can be monitoredand remote accessed for matters of diagnostics and eventual repair form anywhere in the world.Besides the potentials of having systems for facilitating information processing tasks, there are largepotentials in also having systems for performing intelligent interpretation of the available data andinformation. By being transparent information about the activities in the production are collected andmonitored, and thus, opens a potential for taking immediately (i.e. real-time) and appropriately action to anySTARGAME 8
  9. 9. disturbance or variation. By this the effect of possible disturbances are minimised and an optimal utilisationof the resources in the plant is possible.Examples of transparencyMany applications of information infrastructures in production systems exist. One of them is for example thecell controller of a robotic welding cell in a one-of-a kind heavy industry company located in Denmark. Thecell controller facilitates the human operator in initiating and supervisoring welding tasks through a relativesimple interface. When a steel section with numerous welding tasks enters the cell, the operator identifies,from a terminal, the physical section and hereafter initiates the production. Relevant information has prior tothe production been generated and stored in the database by an off-line robot and welding process planningoperation. This information is now automatically retrieved by the cell controller and distributed to therelevant robots performing the welding tasks. During production the cell controller real-time supervises theprogress of the operations and alerts the operator if human interaction is required. Historical data is likewisecollected and stored for statistical analysis purposes.Another example of a suitable application of a transparent production system is the possibilities of remoteaccess to the production equipment. Special trained service personal does not necessarily have to sit next tothe equipment, but can log on to the equipment through the internet. In this way the service personal getsaccess to information about the equipment – its current states and performing level, historical processsequence, alert and warning messages, etc. New versions of software programs for the equipment can beeasily updated and specific software errors can be fixed from remote distances. Instructions for hardwaremaintenance or repairs must be send to general trained operators located at the site of the equipment.4.3 AdaptabilityDefinition of adaptabilityAn adaptive system is a system which has the ability to preserve productivity under event based andcontinuous changing conditions, without any or with a minimum involvement from humans. A system’sadaptability is a way of optimizing the behavior of the system in according to the circumstances the systemcurrently must work at. The adaptive behavior hence attempts to constantly optimize the system’s currentstate of operation, and can be implemented by both hardware and software controls. A system’s adaptabilityis not a design precaution which tries to prevent performance breakdown (passive robustness), but aproactive design behavior which in real-time adapts/optimizes the performance of the system to the currentstate of the system (active robustness).Potentials of adaptabilityAdaptability is a way of making systems more intelligent and not just relaying on general rules of operation,which may work for all situations under which the system works at, but which then may not be optimal forspecific/individual situations. By incorporating intelligence into systems, systems are able to optimize its selfor adapt to any disturbances and hence the system will be able to run unattended for longer period of timethan systems with no adaptive intelligence.Furthermore, after change-over of a system, the system can be self tuning and make run-ins by it self withoutany or minimum involvement by humans. An adaptive system become error tolerant as for example anyfailure is being compensated for by the adaptive intelligence (failure must of cause be reported to humanoperators). Moreover, the system may even be able to identify and locate the reason for any no-optimalbehavior (self diagnostic), which will save time for an operator to locate the error.Examples of adaptabilityOne example of a system which can be made adaptive is a vision guided robot-feeder system as depicted onFigure 4.4. The system is in many ways flexible as part of various types can be fed, manipulated, identifiedand pick and placed by the system. The change-over and reconfiguration from one type of part to anotherSTARGAME 9
  10. 10. type of part are easy and fast. However, the physical behaviour of different parts varies when fed andmanipulated by the flexible feeder. Therefore, one type of parts need one type of feeder inputs (e.g.maximum bounce combined with a feed backward) while another type of parts requires a second type offeeder input (e.g. 50 % bounce followed by a feed forward) in order for most parts to position optimally forthe following pick operation. Besides, different feeder inputs may also be necessary even for the same typeof parts as different distributions of parts in the feeder requires different inputs (e.g. parts may be huddledtogether or spread over a too wide area.). Camera to feeder to camera Robot to robot 7x 8x 9x 10x 11x 12x 7x 8x 9x 10x 11x 12x Ethernet C 7 8 9101112 A 12 34 56 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x 1x 2x 3x 4x 5x 6x A B Feeder Figure 4.4. Adaptability. Self tuning of the performance of a flexible part feeding system consisting of a vision guided robot and a flexible feeder. The feeder input (bounce, feed forward, feed backwards, or combination hereof) are determined by an intelligent comparison of the past feeder inputs and distributions of parts in the feeder.Consequently, general rules used for all types of parts may very likely not be optimal. Making experimentsin order to identify an optimal feeder input scheme are, however, very time and resource consuming, even ifthis is done during the production preparation phase off-line the running production. Instead optimisation offeeder inputs should be done constantly during production. The system should be told on before hand how itshould teach it self by trying different combination of feeder input and compare it to the outcome of thegiven input (in form of correct positioned parts in the presentation area). The performance of the system,right after a change-over, may not be optimal, but as time goes the performance will raise.Another example of an adaptive system is an information and control system for securing optimal resourceallocation in a plant/line layout. In Figure 4.5 an example of a manual assembly line for audio products aresketched. The line is characterised by that there are more assembly stations than human operators. Thechallenge is therefore that the operators must allocate to the various assembly stations in order that the flowout of the line becomes optimal.The information and control system helps the operator to allocate properly by suggesting what stations whichshould be manned. The control system is based on the states of the current situation in the line; that is thenumber of operators and their current allocations and the remaining capacity of the buffers in front of eachassembly station. The situation in the line constantly changes, hence also the states of the line. Changeshappen as events like for example if an operator leave the line, or when more products are entering the lineor as the assembly processes progress. For each new event the control and information system adapts to thenew situation/state and suggests new guidelines for the operators. The operators are free to follow theguidelines, the system adapts to whatever situation the line may be in, and will continuously suggests thebest possible allocation for each current state. [Mads og Torben’s 9. semester rapport]STARGAME 10
  11. 11. Control and information system: Allocation needed at station 2 by operator 3Products in Buffer Products out 1 2 3 4 5 Assembly Operator 1 Station 2 3 Figure 4.5. Adaptability. Manual assembly line of audio products, with more assembly stations than operators. Acontrol and information system facilitates the operators in order for them to adapt their allocation to the most optimal location with respect to the current state of the line.4.4 RobustnessDefinition of robustnessRobustness is a system characteristic which prevents or resists failures to the system or a reducedperformance of the system. As oppose to the adaptability characteristic the robustness characteristic is apassive characteristic. By this is meant that the system do not take any active precaution during execution toresist changing performance. Hence, robustness must be designed into the system on before hand. Besidesunderstanding robustness as a matter of not breaking down due to stress and repeated use, robustness alsoincludes stability and precision in task solving.Potentials of robustnessBy being robust breakdowns or reduced performances are avoided or minimised which is of greatimportance to any type of production. This means that unproductive interruptions of the running productionare minimised. A robust system is also more likely to run for long periods of time unattended.Examples of robustnessIn cases of gripping a part very precisely for a repeated number of times, a robust system is definitelyneeded. One way of obtaining one such robust gripping system is to design and construct a high quality, highprecision gripper, which will grip the parts exactly in the same manner each time. By this the part and thegripper are positioned exactly identically every time a part is being graphed. Such a precision tool can bevery complicated and expensive to develop and realise. Besides, the part feeding system may also bespecially design for preparation of a robust grasp. During production run the pick up sequence may,moreover, not be done a high speeds as the grasp may require narrow tolerances.For matters of high volume production automation, such a precision gripping system may be affordable.However, for operation in highly changing production environments this solution may not be suitable.Another and more simple solution could be to use machine vision for determining the mutual position of thepart being grasped and a simple gripper, which for sure grasp the part every time, but where the position ofthe part in the gripper is not fully determined at the moment of gripping. In Figure 4.6 a picking system isillustrated, including a flexible feeder, a vision guided robot on which a simple parallel gripper is mounted,and a refinement camera. In the procedure for moving the grasped part to its place-location the robot takes apath which passes over the refinement camera (by a via-point). A picture of both the part and the gripper isobtained and an instant calculation of the part’s position in the griper is made in order to determine themutual position of the part and the gripper. The result of this calculation is then included as an offset into theplace-procedure which the robot performs next.STARGAME 11
  12. 12. As a spin off of the described system quality inspection can be obtained, which further improves therobustness of the overall system. By using two cameras parts can be visual inspected from two sides. Partswith errors are discarded by use of the robot. Camera Feeder Robot Refinement camera Figure 4.6. Robustness. The refinement camera is primarily used to determine a precise/robust position of the part in the gripper. The refinement camera may also be used for quality inspections and check/verification before assembly, which further contributes to robust operations.4.5 GenericyDefinition of genericyGenericy refers to the general nature of a system, which means that the system can be used for morepurposes than just one. In a production context genericy is considered as the equipment’s or system’s abilityto be applied to more purposes and applications, and is hence also characterised as non-specific andmultipurpose. Even if the equipment/system may require a slightly reconfiguration in forms of for example achange-over or some kind of initiation before it can be apply it is still characterised as generic.Potentials of genericyGeneric equipment and systems reduce the necessary effort needed to alter the production system, as thesame equipment can be used again for a new purpose. Furthermore, generic equipment and systems is anenabling characteristic for the ability to scale systems fast and easily.Reaction time, due to for example reduced or increased demands, is minimised as existing equipment can bereallocated to produce other products. Also does more product variants be made on the same type ofequipment; hence, reducing the number of special purpose equipment in the company. Special purposeequipment very often are developed or specified by the company itself and dedicated to a certain product.Such special purpose equipment often requires more skilled workers and a wider group of technicians formaintenance and repair tasks. By using generic equipment and systems instead, technician skills can beconcentrated on specific areas hence reducing costs for maintaining the production system, like also the riskis minimised. Compared to specific equipment is the effect of breakdowns of generic production equipmentminimised as the equipment is easily replaced with equivalent or corresponding equipment, thus, reducingthe time of reduced performance.Another effect of generic equipment and systems is that the planning and capacity challenges are more easilysurveyed as cell/line dedication can be eliminated. The degrees of freedom for planning the production ofproducts become higher, and thus, improve the levelling of capacity in the overall production system.STARGAME 12
  13. 13. Generic equipment and systems also reduce the risk in investing in new production equipment. Theinvestment in dedicated production systems are depending on that the products being produced areperforming well on the market. Only revenue from these products can be used to pay back the initialinvestment. Whereas, if the production system can be re-configured, due to its genericy, if the products failsto perform, then the investment can be earned by revenues from new products being produced instead.Hence, the risk of investment becomes less dependent on the performance of specific products.The cost of genericy is often loose of performance with respect to speed, more complicated designs andhigher initial investments. However, with the basis considerations in mind this cost is worth while paying.Examples of genericyIn the present paper a number examples of generic equipment have already been mentioned. The most well-known equipment is of cause the robot which is extremely generic and multipurpose. A robot can be (re-)programmed for doing any operations and manipulations within its working area. Combined with a machinevision system the robot becomes vision guided, which further enhances its possibilities for doing variousoperations, with only slight changes between the different type of operations. Figure 4.7. Genericy. Example of specific and generic part feeders. Above a vibration bowl feeder [] and below a flexible part feeder [].Another example also mentioned previously is the flexible part feeding mechanism, which oppose to aspecific vibration bowl feeder is extremely generic. See Figure 4.7 for both type of equipment. The flexiblepart feeder has its limitations in matters of size and shape of parts to be fed, however, so does the bowlfeeder. However, the principles of vision based feeding and manipulations of parts are exploited in otherflexible feeders than the type presented in the present paper, and the range of product types is expandable.Genericy also exists in software architectures.STARGAME 13
  14. 14. 4.6 AgilityDefinition of agilityAgility is a characteristic which refers to a systems ability to fast and seamlessly to react on changesaffecting the system or to follow changing demands to the system. In the present paper agile is considered asone of the eight important STARGAME characteristics, and is considered to be applied in a specificcontext/application. In other publications agility (agile manufacturing) is coincided with what we in thepresent paper call change-proficiency. We however consider agility in a mush narrower context, i.e. as aspecific attribute of a system.The difference between adaptability and agility should likewise be explicit defined here; Adaptability is asystem’s ability to adjust during operation, and hence adjust the performance of an ongoing process underchanging conditions. Agility is a system’s ability to adjust between operations, i.e. going from knownoperations to new (known or unknown) operations.Potentials of agilityTo be able to adjust fast and with minimum effort is essential in order to operate in today’s ever changingcompetitive environment.Reduction of change-over timeExample of agilityOnce again the vision guided robot-feeder cell is taken up as an example. The equipment is generic andhence reusable and agile in preparing the cell in performing different types of products than the current ones. for example feeding a completely different type of parts. but how should the change over from one type ofpart to a new part be+ Vision receipt: Camera - Cam config. - Models -… Robot receipt: - Robot config. - Pick strategy -… to feeder Robot Feeder 7 8 9x 1 x 11x 12x x x 0 7 8 9x 10x 11x 12 x x x t e C n r 78 91112 01 Feeder receipt: e h E A 12 3456 1 2 3x A4x 5x 6x x x 1 2 3xB 4 5x 6x x x x - Feeder config. - Feeder strategy -… Figure 4.8. Agility. Draft …STARGAME 14
  15. 15. 4.7 Modularity/ MOBILITY (Definition of modularity…Potentials of modularity…Examples of modularity Figure 4.9. Modularity. Draft… [FlexLink]Example of module based composition of an automatic cell, consisting of a base frame (work table), aautomatic manipulator (robot), a internal conveyor system, tools for the manipulator, and finally a casing anduser interfaces. Figure 4.10. Modularity. Draft … [FlexLink]STARGAME 15
  16. 16. Modularity on plant level. Line flow consisting of various automatic cells, conveyor systems, manualassembly stations, and buffers. Each entity is considered as a module which is used in the layout of the plant.Besides the physical hardware also software for example control or supervision of equipment or plants canbe build modular.Object orientated programming is well known method for writing modular software codes. Figure 4.11. Modularity. Draft … [FlexLink]STARGAME 16
  17. 17. 4.8 EconomicallyDefinition of economically…Potential of economically…Examples of economically Volume Time STARGAME Production capacity Demand Dedicated Figure 4.12. Stepwise investment (See FlexLink brochure)STARGAME 17
  18. 18. Events: Machine breakdown, quality, etc. Plant level efficiency Event: New product family Event: New product variant Event: Ramp-up  = 70%  = 60% Time STARGAME Dedicated Figure 4.13. Product lifecycle vs. production lifecycle5 Identification of Enabling Technologies5.1 Classification of Production EntitiesValue adding activities: • Production processes • Integration processes (= assembly and packing)Non value adding activities: • Handling and transportation • Storage and Buffering • InspectionNon-physical activities/processes: • Presentation and Identification of parts • Data acquisition and Supervision • Planning and Control • Information flowSTARGAME 18
  19. 19. 5.2 Enabling technologiesKonkretisering af teknologier som opfylder STARGAME konceptet. Automatic storage (21) out In/ Automatic procurement (20) Automatic processes (3) To distribution HUB AGV (5) Custom ) (1 5 decoration (8) AGV or ey (22) nv (16) co ry l i ve (4) Feeding (13) De Flexible Bag pack Box pack surface (7) and and (14) marking shrinking (10) (19) (24) 18) or ( Automatic integration (2) Manual integration (1) ve y (17) co n e (11) cl ci o e- Foli (12) R (6) (23) External processes and integrations (4) Manual procurement Technology identification Machine Vision Flex feeding Flexible mechanisms Robotics Fixed feeding Integration Process Transportation Information Technology Figure 5.1. Conceptual STARGAME manufacturing layout used for identifying enabling technology requirements.Identification for enabling technologies • Digital processes • Robotics • Machine vision • Advanced mechanisms • Transportation Systems • Sensors • Information and control system – Facilitating – IntelligentSTARGAME 19
  20. 20. • System integration and holistic thinking • Structured design approaches (modularisation and platformisation) • :6 ConclusionEvt…: • Reduction of finished goods/pipeline inventory from reduced lead time and • More design families and variants higher delivery reliability • Reduced inventory level • Improvement of service level (time and • Shorten time to from shorter lead time precision) market/volume and higher delivery • Exploiting niche markets • Customization of time and place of reliability delivery • Upgradeability and • Demanding a higher replacement • Demanding responsiveness and responsiveness from flexibility for enabling STARGAME • Customization purchase STARGAME Sales & Design & Procure- Componen Assembly Distributio Marketing Product ment & t & packing n developme purchase manufactu nt -ring • Higher degree of design reuse enabling more design families and variants (cost) • Production platforms enabling higher reuse flexibility and thus improving the investment • Shorten and precise time to robustness market/volume (time) • Higher quality from design, i.e. limited • Reduced inventory/WIP from improved lead time and reliability time for product quality corrections • Focused and dedicated cells enabling improved ramp-up and employment of new technologies Figure 6.1. STARGAME’s influence on stakeholders potential tradeoffSTARGAME 20