In MODAPTO’s 2nd Use Case, we plan to translate the principles of modularity and re-configurability into tangible outcomes. By cultivating flexible production lines that incorporate simulation and optimisation capabilities, this pilot seeks to imbue production modules with self-awareness and predictive maintenance features. Particularly crucial in this context is the integration of the human factor, responding to heightened customer demands for customised production.
To ensure rapid delivery regardless of customisation complexity, the assessment of process convertibility becomes imperative. The project aims to redesign and implement a modular production setting that facilitates the seamless execution of both standard and customised modularised operations, considering work-in-progress (WIP) inventory. The envisioned production setting allows for flexible reconfiguration of each process step and the overall process, emphasising aspects such as line balancing, automatic line setup, personnel allocation, and real-time product routing through the intralogistics system. Focusing on the production of specific gear motors, the pilot targets seven process steps currently managed through monolithic production lines. Simulation is employed to support redesign and reconfiguration decisions.
Post the development of the new modular production scheme, the pilot shifts towards supporting its operation through optimised production scheduling. This encompasses line balancing, predictive maintenance needs, production re-scheduling, and routing between different production modules to mitigate the impact of machine failures and enhance flow rate stability in the assembly lines. Performance comparison between identical modules serves as a key element in analysing local parameters and proposing optimisations based on the results.
SEW USOCOME, a manufacturer of production equipment for industrial customers, is strategically transitioning from a highly automated yet monolithic production system to a modular, Reconfigurable Manufacturing System (RMS) for assembling specific types of gearmotors. Facilitating the customisation of products for its customers, including small-sised and individual batches, the company is establishing its inaugural modular assembly plant as part of the MODAPTO project. The pilot project aligns with this transition, integrating production line reconfiguration and simulation capabilities to assist production engineers and managers in designing or reconfiguring production lines based on specific requirements.
Furthermore, this pilot focuses on enhancing the capabilities of SEW’s existing production modules within the newly developed RMS, incorporating self-awareness functionalities and optimising production and predictive maintenance operations. The overarching objective is to elevate efficiency and further automate production processes.