Increase of capacity flexibility in manufacturing systems by substitution of product functions
In the current competitive market manufacturing companies are driven by significant price pressure as well as high fluctuation in demand. They are faced with the challenge of producing products cost-effectively. Especially, serial and variant manufacturers strive for high capacity utilization to prevent overcapacity and to reduce their fixed costs in production. By applying current approaches companies are able to react on market turbulences by adapting the manufacturing system in the limits of a defined flexibility corridor. However, with these the existence of overcapacity is not eliminated. In particular, an alternative approach for short and medium term adjustments in the existing manufacturing system has to be given. Consequently, the objective is the efficient use of overcapacity. For this purpose, in this article a new approach to increase the capacity flexibility in manufacturing systems is described. The core approach ""Substitution of Product Functions" focuses on manufacturing two different variants of product components with the same product function simultaneously but two different product designs. One of the component designs needs a high process time with low variable costs, the other one a low process time with high variable costs. Thus, two product designs with differentiation in variable costs allow the use of the factor ""manufacturing process time"" as an additional control variable for increasing the capacity flexibility. The main result will be a cost-optimized and highly utilized manufacturing process. Based on previous scientific studies in this article the results of the influence on costs and capacity flexibility by variation of the product design and design of manufacturing system are presented.