Date of Award

1-31-1993

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Industrial Engineering - (M.S.)

Department

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

First Advisor

Das, Sanchoy K.

Second Advisor

Abdel-Malek, Layek

Third Advisor

Chao, Xiuli

Abstract

Manufacturing technology is in the midst of on-going developments stemming from rapid improvements in machine tools, computers and robots. These developments present engineers with greater challenges and opportunities in designing more complex and productive systems. The concept of flexibility was defined by authors like Jaikumar, Son & Park, and Buzacott. The various challenges can be partly over come by building flexibility into the various systems. Various operational or raw measures are described as they help managers to understand the kind and extent of flexibility embedded in their production process and allow them to make informal judgement on new equipment.

Various types of flexibilities such as Product, Process, Machine and Mix are defined and necessity measures are developed. The objective of necessity measures is to determine the flexibility required in a manufacturing facility based on the given set of parameters, such as the number of resources, type of resources, availability of resources, etc. Having derived the necessity measures they have been validated with illustrative examples.

The Mix and Process flexibility measures were found to be very sensitive to the system components and its attributes. With the introduction of new or additional components the necessity measures varies significantly. Product and Machine flexibility are found to be less sensitive. The measures used for the flexibility study are simple and operational. These measures are intended to be used by a decision maker in support of choosing a manufacturing system, set of machines, products to produce, or adding a machine to an existing production system.

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