Flexible manufacturing systems and cells in the Federal Republic of Germany
In 1985/1986 about 200 FMC and 100 FMS are installed. The diffusion process is however a trend towards smaller systems and cells. The majority of the FMS and FMC (85 %) takes over production tasks which were previously handled by stand-alone machines; only 15 % replace transfer-lines. Thus the innovation objectives of increasing productivity and reducing through-put times were of greater significance than increasing flexibility to cope with a larger number of variations in the manufacturing area. The findings demonstrate clearly that there are no deterministic connections between the systems' technical design, the solution chosen for work organization and manpower utilization and the type and extent of training measures. It is apparant that individual companies with their specific framework conditions make different use of similar manufacturing equipment. A systematic improvement of working conditions by introducing forms of work organization based on less division of labour for exampl e, has been attempted by relatively few companies so far.