Manufacturing systems

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Advanced Manufacturing Technology (AMT)

what is it? describes the significant impact of computers on manufacturing. Computer technology has revolutionised the way that products are designed and manufactured. At every stage of the manufacturing process, computer technology is used to ensure fast, efficient high quality production. The key facets of advanced manufacturing technology are given below:

  • Quick response manufacturing
  • Concurrent Manufacturing
  • Flexible manufacturing systems
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Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM)

What is it? QRM makes companies more efficient and hence profitable by making them respond to a consumer demand (flow production) rather than planning for an expected demand which may or may not happen (batch production). It involves TQM & JIT, but it aims at increasing overall flexibility and responsiveness of the company. It is a pull process because the raw materials arepulled through the production process according to market demands.

Advantages: Less money is needed to run the factory because fewer raw materials and finished goods are stocked.

  • The company is in a better position to increase market share as quicker response times may attract new clients.
  • There is an increased turnover of stock as production systems are triggered by demand .
  • Smaller batches are often produced resulting in lower storage costs 
  • The cost of producing quality products is reduced by minimising waste and by giving more responsibility to production teams .

Disadvantages:There is an increased reliance on suppliers to react to demand and quickly accommodate production                           schedules .

  • Poor supply could result in a manufacturer’s inability to meet customer requirements .
  • Huge variations in demand can be a problem if manufacturers can't react to the high production volume efficiently .
  • Managing  the change required can be difficult as QRM changes the roles & responsibilities of employees.
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Concurrent Manufacturing

What is it?

  • concurrent manufacturing is a team based approach in which all the different stages of design/manufacture overlap & are ICT driven. It's about the key people who work at each stage of the design & manufacture, working together to make sure that changes at one part of a process will not require changes at another. This helps problems to be solved once only with no re-designing necessary . This eliminates product introduction delays.
  • Computer based systems enable efficient communication between individual members of a team. For multinational companies a computer network is essential to support data transfer.

Quality Function Deployment

  • It is used early in manufacturing to create a more succesful product
  • It incorporates customer satisfaction into the development of a product before it is manufactured.
  • key feature is the "house of quality" matrix, which is used to translate customer demands into targets to be met by the new product. The 6 components are: customer requirements;technical requirements;planning matrix; interrelationship matrix; technical correlation; technical priorities, benchmarks & targets.
  • ADVANTAGES: reduced time to market & design modifications, decreased design & manufacturing costs, improved product quality, enhanced customer satisfaction.


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Flexible Manufacturing systems (FMS)

  • is one where several machines are linked by a machine handling system such as computer controlled robot or conveyor system. It brings together new technologies; CNC or robotics to form an integrated system. It is different from an automated production line because of its ability to process more than one type of product at the same time.
  • Modern FMS have powerful computing capacities that give them the ability not only to control and co-ordinate the individual equipment, but also to perfom production planning. The main advantage is that FMS has high flexibility in managing manufacturing resources to manufacture a new product. This allows quick response to changes in production utilising 2 main features:
  • Machine flexibility: systems ability to be changed to produce new product types
  • Routing flexibility: ability to use several machines at the same time to perform the same operation, increasing the speed of production. These systems can readily adapt to changes in the product such as volume or size.

FMS vary in complexity and size. Some are designed to be flexible and to produce a large number of different parts in very small batches. Others have the ability to produce a single complete product in large batches from a sequence of many individual operations.

Advantages: increased productivity due to automation; shorter lead times for new products; lower labour costs; improved production quality due to elimination of human error

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