Title: Scalability of reconfigurable manufacturing systems based on bowl phenomenon: an implication of modular machines

Authors: Faisal Hasan; P.K. Jain; Dinesh Kumar

Addresses: Manufacturing Systems Lab, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee-247667, Uttarakhand, India ' Manufacturing Systems Lab, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee-247667, Uttarakhand, India ' Manufacturing Systems Lab, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee-247667, Uttarakhand, India

Abstract: Improving productivity is considered to be one of the key challenges for designing and operating any manufacturing system. Perfect balancing of the production line is seldom achieved because of numerous constraints. In order to have higher productivity from these production lines the concept of unbalancing the workloads, giving rise to the 'bowl phenomenon' was proposed by Hillier and Boling (1967a, 1967b, 1972) in context of dedicated manufacturing systems. Literature revealed that study of this phenomenon is primarily confined to dedicated manufacturing systems and flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs) and this concept has not yet been explored for newer generation of manufacturing system like reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMSs) which may be utilised an viable option for partial scalability of these systems. In the paper, this concept of bowl is extended to RMS planning and is explained with the help of a numerical illustration.

Keywords: bowl phenomenon; modularity; serial production lines; flow lines; reconfigurable manufacturing systems; RMS planning; modular machines; scalability; productivity improvement; line balancing; unbalanced workloads.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISE.2016.073261

International Journal of Industrial and Systems Engineering, 2016 Vol.22 No.1, pp.73 - 95

Available online: 30 Nov 2015 *

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