Foresight Vehicle Responsive Design and Operation of Flexible Manpower Lines 2002-01-0470
A Flexible Manpower Line forms an individual cell of a Linked-Cell Manufacturing System. Despite their increasing popularity among leading automotive component manufacturers, flexible manpower lines are relatively limited in terms of the variety of components which can be manufactured and typically incur large capital equipment costs. Multi-component flexible manpower lines seek to overcome these limitations by lending themselves to increased levels of machine utilisation and frequent (e.g., weekly) design reconfigurations as changes in part mixes and volumes dictate. However, the complexity involved in operating such systems and the absence of responsive methods for their design present major obstacles to their wider use.
Research currently being undertaken intends to improve the time and effectiveness with which flexible manpower lines can be designed and implemented. These aims are being achieved through the development of a Genetic Algorithms-based simulation-optimisation toolkit capable of automatically generating system designs.