Movable Automation for Low Volume and High Mix Production – Benefits and Barriers
Examensarbete för masterexamen
Production engineering (MPPEN), MSc
The current trends of mass customization along with digitalization of the industry are increasing the demands on companies to produce low volume series with high variation. Small and medium sized enterprises generally don’t have the financial power to invest in the latest production technology, nor is it plausible to dedicate machines for a few products when these subcontractors’ product range is ever changing. However, the rise of movable automation may be a means for these companies to automate their low volume high mix production. This thesis aims to evaluate the operational effects of this movable automation, but also to find the barriers of utilizing it at three case companies. The movable automation in this study is movable industrial robots with a fenceless security system. The results show that the case companies have experienced problems with utilizing the robots in a favorable way. Therefore, direct operational effects were difficult to find, but the robot is deemed to have high potential at these companies, decreasing production costs, increasing quality, making the work environment better and increasing productivity. However, in order to utilize the potential that the robot provides, there are barriers that the companies need to overcome. The main barrier being the studied companies’ lack of resources in the form of time and competence. This leads to difficulties of adapting their products for automation, as well as designing and producing grippers. Hence, the robot has not been able to cope with the low volume high mix production of these companies as intended. With enough resources spent on developing the technical solution, it is believed that the companies will be able to utilize the potential of movable automation, thus increasing their competitiveness.
Transport , Övrig industriell teknik och ekonomi , Transport , Other industrial engineering and economics