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Author: Reik, Michael Philipp
Supervisor: Culley, S. J., Mileham, A. R., & Owen, G. W.
Institution: University of Bath
A rapid changeover capability is central to today’s thinking in respect of responsive, small batch manufacturing. Mass customization and other modern manufacturing paradigms have prompted companies to adapt swiftly to market turbulence and at the same time avoid the traditionally high unit costs associated with custom-made or small- volume products.
To support rapid and high quality changeover global changeover improvement opportunities are assessed and a contextual framework is developed. This is referred to as the 4P framework. The framework differentiates between various areas (People, Practice, Products and Process) in which improvement can be sought and helps in balancing improvement efforts.
Historically, an operations-focused approach has been adopted in reducing changeover times; however, it is argued that there is a significant benefit if there is a stronger focus on equipment and system design. There is a considerable challenge to design and build cost-effective changeover-capable equipment. A number of methodologies for the design of changeable manufacturing systems have been proposed in the literature. Although they can be used to generally guide design, they lack systematic techniques to benchmark design alternatives. As a result machine designers have often no other option as to design ‘changeoverability’ on an ad hoc basis.
A systematic DFC methodology which builds upon existing DFX and other engineering design methodologies is proposed in this thesis. Various techniques to benchmark changeover capabilities of equipment design are also proposed. The generic DFC methodology combines the evaluation of changeover capabilities and the identification of improvement possibilities. Three detailed case studies utilising the proposed methodology are presented. These case studies show the effectiveness of the proposed techniques to evaluate and improve changeover performance of manufacturing equipment from the outset.