Reconfigurable and transportable container-integrated production system
In this paper, the concept and the prototype realization of a novel reconfigurable small-footprint manufacturing system in a transportable container is presented. The containerized format enables transportation of the system to provide on-site manufacturing, enabling the benefits of localized service delivery without duplication of equipment at multiple locations. Three industrial product use cases with varying manufacturing and performance requirements were analysed. All of the use cases demanded highly customized products with high quality in low production volumes. Based on their requirements, a general system specification was derived and used to develop a concept for the container-integrated factory. A reconfigurable, modular manufacturing system is integral to the overall container concept. Production equipment was integrated in the form of interchangeable process modules, which can be quickly connected by standard utility supply and control interfaces. A modular and self-configuring control system provides assisted production workflow programming, while a modular process chain combining Additive Manufacturing, CNC milling, precision assembly and cleaning processes has been developed. A prototype of the container-integrated factory with reconfigurable process modules and control system has been established, with full functionality and feasibility of the system demonstrated.