Unexpected events in manufacturing systems which interrupt normal production and reduce production yields can be costly and damaging to a manufacturer’s reputation. With modern manufacturing systems largely consisting of machines, inspection stations and intermediate buffers interconnected to perform production operations, a disruptive event such as machine / equipment failure could lead to full or partial loss of production. Therefore, gaining an understanding and evaluation of disruptive events and the impacts they impart on performance provides valuable insight on the economic sustainability of manufacturing enterprises.
Manufacturing resilience can be defined as the ability of a system to withstand potentially high-impact disruptions, characterized by the capability to mitigate or absorb the impact of disruptions, and quickly recover to normal conditions.
With the increasing occurrences of natural disasters such as typhoons, earthquakes, etc., and man-made hazards like terrorism and supplier bankruptcy it becomes increasingly important to focus on reducing the impact of supply chain disruptions through risk management. Equally important is resilience with regard to internal disruptions for manufacturing systems design and operations management.
Manufacturing systems designed for resilience to mitigate the effect of a disruption have certain capabilities which primarily derive from the redundancy and flexibility embedded in the system. Two typical capabilities are – to increase the speed of the other machines in the system when the disruption occurs, e.g. automotive factories operate typically at efficiency levels of 60 – 70%, so if necessary, an opportunity exists to increase the speed of machines. This capability is known as system redundancy, where under normal conditions the system is not operating at its full capacity.
The second typical capability of a resilient manufacturing system involves reconfiguration of the system, which takes advantage of the system flexible architecture. A Reconfigurable Manufacturing System (RMS), is a system that can rapidly and cost-effectively adjust its production resources in response to unpredictable market changes and intrinsic events. The RMS has the capability to scale up production by adding machines, reallocating tasks and rebalancing itself when higher throughput is needed.
In addition, designing a manufacturing system for resilience also requires rapid adjustment of production resources by performing task reallocation and rebalancing.
HSRC is proud to have recently been contracted by a leading commercial real estate services and investment management group and energy management consultancy to provide a resilience assessment model for a well-renowned U.S. manufacturer of mobile communication devices.