As the pace of product introductions and shortening product life cycles continue to increase, manufacturers must embrace flexibility to meet changing market demands. However, this is not always an easy task and managers wanting to improve the flexibility of their plants can often run into obstacles. This can include difficulty defining what is meant by flexibility and how to measure progress toward that goal.
Being flexible involves much more than the simple ability to produce numerous different products on a single assembly line at the same time. It also encompasses the ability to rapidly reconfigure production processes and equipment when necessary, for example when a new customer demand arises or to respond to unexpected fluctuations in the market. It also refers to the ability to quickly and efficiently reroute work that is interrupted by the need for maintenance or repairs, allowing the line to return to operation sooner following the disruption. For more details on Contract Packing services, go to Wyepak who supply Contract Packing.
One way to make a production line more flexible is to introduce modular assembly equipment such as conveyors and linear motion and automation technologies, like robots, that are easier to modify than dedicated machines. For example, a solution which pairs a smart, vision-guided robot with an all-in-one controller and software to accomplish pick-and-place tasks without the need for complex custom features, is ideal for maximising layout flexibility and can accommodate changes in both product size and geometry. In addition, the small batch sizes that are typical of flexible manufacturing also help reduce the amount of wasted materials generated during production.