Towards Decentralized Production: A Novel Method to Identify Flexibility Potentials in Production Sequences Based on Flexibility Graphs
Lennart Bochmann*1,*2, Lars Gehrke*1,*3, Adrian Böckenkamp*4, Frank Weichert*4, Rainer Albersmann*5, Christian Prasse*6, Christoph Mertens*6, Marco Motta*6, and Konrad Wegener*2
Berliner Ring 2, 38440 Wolfsburg, Germany
*2Institute of Machine Tools and Manufacturing, ETH Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
*3Chair of Enterprise Logistics, Technical University of Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany
*4Department of Computer Science VII, Technical University of Dortmund, Dortmund, Germany
*5F/L/S Fuzzy Logik Systeme GmbH, Dortmund, Germany
*6Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, Dortmund, Germany
Due to higher degrees of individualization, shorter product life cycles, and volatile selling markets, fulfilling customer demands — the main task of automotive companies — has become very complex. In order to tackle this complexity, new concepts that enable the decentralization of decision-making within the production process have become promising solutions. The advancement towards self-organized production requires novel approaches in the field of production program planning. This work introduces the concept of the volume cycle as a new design factor in program planning. Additionally, a novel method to identify flexibility potentials in production sequences based on ,flexibility graphs is proposed, and the method is validated through a case study considering a segment of the assembly process for an automobile. Suitable visualization techniques for flexibility graphs are also discussed. Furthermore, in order to allow automatic analysis and evaluation of the flexibility potentials, methods of graph mining are introduced and the application possibilities of these techniques in terms of analyzing flexibility graphs are clarified. The results obtained from the case study illustrate that routing flexibility is not leveraged in today’s production lines, thus revealing a potential optimization domain.
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