DOI: 10.3390/machines11090877 ISSN:

Technology Modules Providing Solutions for Agile Manufacturing

Miha Deniša, Aleš Ude, Mihael Simonič, Tero Kaarlela, Tomi Pitkäaho, Sakari Pieskä, Janis Arents, Janis Judvaitis, Kaspars Ozols, Levente Raj, András Czmerk, Morteza Dianatfar, Jyrki Latokartano, Patrick Alexander Schmidt, Anton Mauersberger, Adrian Singer, Halldor Arnarson, Beibei Shu, Dimosthenis Dimosthenopoulos, Panagiotis Karagiannis, Teemu-Pekka Ahonen, Veikko Valjus, Minna Lanz
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Control and Optimization
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Control and Systems Engineering

In this paper, we address the most pressing challenges faced by the manufacturing sector, particularly the manufacturing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), where the transition towards high-mix low-volume production and the availability of cost-effective solutions are crucial. To overcome these challenges, this paper presents 14 innovative solutions that can be utilized to support the introduction of agile manufacturing processes in SMEs. These solutions encompass a wide range of key technologies, including reconfigurable fixtures, low-cost automation for printed circuit board (PCB) assembly, computer-vision-based control, wireless sensor networks (WSNs) simulations, predictive maintenance based on Internet of Things (IoT), virtualization for operator training, intuitive robot programming using virtual reality (VR), autonomous trajectory generation, programming by demonstration for force-based tasks, on-line task allocation in human–robot collaboration (HRC), projector-based graphical user interface (GUI) for HRC, human safety in collaborative work cells, and integration of automated ground vehicles for intralogistics. All of these solutions were designed with the purpose of increasing agility in the manufacturing sector. They are designed to enable flexible and modular manufacturing systems that are easy to integrate and use while remaining cost-effective for SMEs. As such, they have a high potential to be implemented in the manufacturing industry. They can be used as standalone modules or combined to solve a more complicated task, and contribute to enhancing the agility, efficiency, and competitiveness of manufacturing companies. With their application tested in industrially relevant environments, the proposed solutions strive to ensure practical implementation and real-world impact. While this paper presents these solutions and gives an overview of their methodologies and evaluations, it does not go into their details. It provides summaries of comprehensive and multifaceted solutions to tackle the evolving needs and demands of the manufacturing sector, empowering SMEs to thrive in a dynamic and competitive market landscape.

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