A matrix-based framework for assessing machine tool reconfiguration alternatives


Reconfigurable manufacturing machines are designed to allow manufacturers to readily adapt to changing circumstances. This adds a new dimension to the process-planning problem, as the machine structure is not constant. A comprehensive set of reconfiguration management assessment tools and methods must be introduced to assist in developing the most appropriate process change strategies for a given set of circumstances based on the machine structures, control capabilities, and the skill levels and availability of shop personnel. Therefore, the goal of this research is to develop methods to assess the machine configuration/reconfiguration compatibility characteristics for alternative process strategies. The methods must be adaptable to suit a variety of environments and present results that are readily understood by all actors. Systematic, matrix-based techniques for assessing product and process complexity are introduced as well as a methodology to assess the suitability for CNC machine tool configurations with respect to a process plan, which considers the candidate machines’ physical and functional characteristics to determine its suitability. The resulting candidate machines are subsequently assessed to consider the process transition complexity issues utilizing an extension of a manufacturing complexity analysis framework used to evaluate product and process complexity. Case studies are presented to illustrate the merits of the proposed methodology.

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Correspondence to R. J. Urbanic or R. W. Hedrick.

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Urbanic, R.J., Hedrick, R.W. A matrix-based framework for assessing machine tool reconfiguration alternatives. Int J Adv Manuf Technol 81, 1893–1919 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00170-015-7287-8

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  • Reconfiguration management
  • Change management
  • Process planning
  • Complexity
  • CNC machines