Independent thesis Advanced level (professional degree), 10 credits / 15 HE credits
Flexible manufacturing is something that most companies is aiming to accomplish due to the increased demand for variety and a competitive global market.
This thesis report includes an introduction to the automation concept and the development towards flexible automation. A general flexible assembly cell is presented and its content and requirements are discussed. The work has been done with focus on an assembly process with dedicated fixtures at VCE (Volvo Construction Equipment).
Based on the literature review and the general example, a list of actions to take while planning and implementing a process is developed. The actions roughly include: mapping of the process, defining goals, investigation of automation level, holistic view while planning, definition of the need for flexibility, investment plan, designing and comparing concepts, investigation of possible issues and implementation in small scale.
The current manual process at VCE is presented and analysed. Three concepts are designed with product flexibility as an alternative to processes in which traditional dedicated fixtures are used. The designed concepts are a fully automated concept, a hybrid concept with separated workspace and a human-robot collaboration.
Finally, the concepts are analysed and compared based on following parameters: productivity, product cost, investment, flexibility, space requirement and setup time. One final comparing summary of the concepts is done. The analysis shows that a fully automated concept is to prefer in this case. However, a human-robot collaboration could be appropriate to use if the process is expected to improve with the human workforce. Examples of when it could be reasonable to use human-robot collaboration despite this are: if the task provides better quality when conducted by human or if the task is complex to automate.
2016. , 23 p.
Robotic fixtureless assembly, hybrid assembly, automation level, flexible fixtures, fully automated concept, hybrid assembly concept