TITLE

Automation or De-automation

AUTHOR(S)
Gorlach, Igor; Wessel, Oliver
PUB. DATE
September 2008
SOURCE
AIP Conference Proceedings;9/9/2008, Vol. 1045 Issue 1, p133
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In the global automotive industry, for decades, vehicle manufacturers have continually increased the level of automation of production systems in order to be competitive. However, there is a new trend to decrease the level of automation, especially in final car assembly, for reasons of economy and flexibility. In this research, the final car assembly lines at three production sites of Volkswagen are analysed in order to determine the best level of automation for each, in terms of manufacturing costs, productivity, quality and flexibility. The case study is based on the methodology proposed by the Fraunhofer Institute. The results of the analysis indicate that fully automated assembly systems are not necessarily the best option in terms of cost, productivity and quality combined, which is attributed to high complexity of final car assembly systems; some de-automation is therefore recommended. On the other hand, the analysis shows that low automation can result in poor product quality due to reasons related to plant location, such as inadequate workers’ skills, motivation, etc. Hence, the automation strategy should be formulated on the basis of analysis of all relevant aspects of the manufacturing process, such as costs, quality, productivity and flexibility in relation to the local context. A more balanced combination of automated and manual assembly operations provides better utilisation of equipment, reduces production costs and improves throughput.
ACCESSION #
34481107

 

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