A framework supporting manufacturing system synthesis for optimizing product families
This research proposes a relationship between product families, the factory life-cycle planning stages, the hierarchical scales of manufacturing systems and the classes of factory changeability. Based on this relationship, this paper contributes towards developing an approach framework that reveals and analyses the consequences of commitments made during the factory planning stages on the possible product space, hence on product families and business strategy. A vision is thus presented which looks towards a framework that can support the factory planning processes by proactively providing the necessary information and required guidance. Using this framework, this paper presents the system architecture used as/for an experimental implementation of an intelligent ICT tool for factory planning. More importantly, it focuses on "manufacturing system synthesis" decision making support when the system solution model is still evolving to help proactively foresee and optimize as early as possible the range of product families that can be handled.