• A design strategy for reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMSs) using the analytical hierarchical process (AHP): A case study.

      Abdi, M. Reza; Labib, A.W. (2003)
      This paper presents Reconfigurable Manufacturing System (RMS) characteristics through comparison with conventional manufacturing systems in order to address a design strategy towards a RMS. The strategy is considered as apart of a RMS design loop to achieve a reconfigurable strategy over its implementation period. As another part of the design loop, a reconfiguration link between market and manufacturing is presented in order to group products into families (reconfiguring products) and then assign them to the required manufacturing processes over configuration stages. In particular, the Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) is employed for structuring the decision making process for the selection of a manufacturing system among feasible alternatives based on the RMS study. Manufacturing responsiveness is considered as the ability of using existing resources to reflect new environmental and technological changes quickly. The AHP model highlights manufacturing responsiveness as a new economic objective along with classical objectives such as low cost and high quality. The forward-backward process is then proposed to direct and control the design strategy under uncertain conditions during its implementation period. The proposed hierarchy is generic in structure and could be applicable to many firms by means of restructuring the criteria. This work is based on a case study in a manufacturing environment. Expert Choice software (Expert Choice 1999) is applied to examine the structure of the proposed model and achieve synthesise/ graphical results considering inconsistency ratios. The results are examined by monitoring sensitivity analysis while changing the criteria priorities. Finally, to allocate available resources to the alternative solutions, a (0-1) knapsack formulation algorithm is represented.
    • A feasibility study on the tactical-design justification of reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMSs) using fuzzy AHP

      Abdi, M. Reza; Labib, A.W. (2004)
      Reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMSs) are designed based on the current and future requirements of the market and the manufacturing system (MS). The first stage of designing an RMS at the tactical level is the evaluation of economic and manufacturing/operational feasibility. Because of risk and uncertainty in an RMS environment, this major task must be performed precisely before investment in the detailed design. The present paper highlights the importance of manufacturing capacity and functionality for the feasibility of an RMS design during reconfiguration processes. Due to uncertain demands of product families, the RMS key-design factors, i.e. capacity value, functionality degree and reconfiguration time, are characterized by the identified fuzzy sets. Consequently, an integrated structure of the analytical hierarchical process and fuzzy set theory is presented. The proposed model provides additional insights into a feasibility study of an RMS design by considering both technical and economical aspects. The fuzzy analytical hierarchical process model is examined in an industrial case study by means of Expert Choice software. Finally, the fuzzy multicriteria model is sensitively analysed within the fuzzy domains of those attributes, which are considered to be critical for the case study.
    • Grouping and selecting products: the design key of reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMSs)

      Abdi, M. Reza; Labib, A.W. (2009-07-31)
      A Reconfigurable Manufacturing System (RMS) is a new paradigm that focuses on manufacturing a high variety of products at the same system. Having specified a design strategy for an RMS as the first design step at the tactical level, products must be grouped to identify and allocate corresponding manufacturing facilities. An interface between market and manufacturing called reconfiguration link is presented to specify and arrange products for manufacturing. The reconfiguration link incorporates the tasks of determining the products in the production range, grouping them into families and selecting the appropriate family at each configuration stage. The proposed approach of (re)configuring products before manufacturing facilitates assigning product families to the required manufacturing facilities in terms of (re)configuring manufacturing systems. This paper contributes an overall approach of grouping products into families based on operational similarities, when machines are still not identified. Since the problem of product family selection consists of quantitative and qualitative objectives, the Analytical Hierarchical Process (AHP) is then used while considering both market and manufacturing requirements. The AHP model is verified in an industrial case study through using Expert Choice software. The solutions take advantage of monitoring sensitivity analysis while changing the priorities of manufacturing and/or market criteria. The concept of the proposed model is generic in structure and applicable to many firms. However, the model must be adapted according to the specific nature of the company under study. For instance, product family choices may differ from one company to another because of the available technology and the volume and type of existing products in the production range.