Flexible Configuration Logic for Integrative Production
This Research Area is focused on the development of a flexible configuration logic and classification system for production systems, which allows for the economically optimal and integrative alignment of the structure-forming elements of a production system according to mutual interactions and to external requirements. The question of how the economically optimal operating point of production systems can be widened and turned into an optimal operating range for product variants in order to produce individualised products at mass production costs was thereby answered individually. This Research Area contributed to the resolution of the dichotomy between scale and scope by enabling production systems to cope with higher product diversity and dynamics by realizing one-piece-flow. Existing approaches focusing on the resolution of the scale-scope dilemma restrict their field of observation and activity to either the product or the process. Martin MV, Ishii K (1997): Design for Variety, Development of Complexity Indices and Design Charts. In: Proceedings of the ASME Design Engineering Technical Conferences 1997, Sacramento. These approaches were extended by the results of Research Area A-1 due to its high level of integrativeness.
In Research Area Flexible Configuration Logic an integrated assessment model for production systems addressing the scale-scope-dilemma was developed. A description model and classification system was designed, defining the key domains of a production system and there main descriptive variables. From a macroscopic point of view the dilemma between scale and scope for a whole production system was allocated to the four domains “Product Programme”, “Product Architecture”, “Production Structure” and “Supply Chain”. Based on individual objectives for each domain and the corresponding descriptive variables, evaluation parameters for the main dimensions have been defined, enabling a quantitative and integrative assessment of the resolution of the scale-scope-dilemma.
The model was validated in various industries, for example in the tool-making industry with a panel of 52 companies participating in a survey. Furthermore, an integrative methodology for the (re-) design of product and production systems, referred to as the integrative configuration logic, was developed in this Research Area. This allows for an analysis of complexity-related interrelations between the configuration of products and the production system itself. In this Research Area four integrative solution principles were developed for the integrative optimisation of production systems. The method of implementation of these solution principles is adapted to the specific application context on the basis of a typology of production systems. As a completion of the high-level descriptive models referred to above, an explanatory model has been developed using the example of a specific production system. This comprises the mutual product- and process-related interdependencies for the production of rolling bearings. Once these variables and their interdependencies had been identified, the model could be applied in interaction with the assessment model stated above to determine the specific, optimal production system operating point. That way, the application of the configuration logic offers explanatory value but also opens up forecast and design possibilities for the practical use. In the context of this Research Area an application of the developed models took place in the context of the Business- & Technology-Case “Leveling Production at Ortlinghaus-Werke GmbH”. All steps of the configuration logic including the integrative assessment model were carried out here. Furthermore a use case considering the development and production of an electric vehicle was established at RWTH Aachen University. This use case provides a platform for the application and validation of the configuration logic. The results of this Research Area serve as a basis for the second funding phase of the Cluster of Excellence, laying the foundation stone for the further development. The results and demonstrators on the reference architectures for production systems are used and further developed in the Research Areas "Direct, Mould-less Production Systems" and "Mould-based Production Systems".
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Wirt. Ing Günther Schuh
Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL)
Chair of Production Engineering
Steinbachstraße 19, D-52074 Aachen
Phone: +49 (0)241 80-27404 Fax: +49 (0)241 80-22293