Modular incremental applications of Flexible Manufacturing Systems provide “small lots/batch” manufacturers with a strategy to improve productivity from a timetable and cash flow basis that meets his specific needs. The Aerospace Industry is one of the best examples of “small lots” manufacturing. In today's environment where flexibility is a necessity, well planned strategies, effectively executed, will determine survival and leadership in this highly competitive industry.
This paper focuses on General Electric's Aircraft Engine Business Group's roadmap to apply and meld advanced technology into the in-place production base. Networking of these modernization programs provides the approach that keeps our entire manufacturing facilities--old and new--on a continual path to “Factories With a Future.”
Prioritized automation projects, implemented on an incremental basis, allow a pay-as-you-go tracking scheme that fulfills economic and technological objectives for modernizing our manufacturing plants. This approach allows incremental improvements within the framework of investment planning while maintaining a course of pre-eminence in technology advancements.