Manufacturing without Takt and Assembly Line
The most important argument for data-driven, networked manufacturing lies in its potential to bring flexibility to production. For a long time, there was no alternative to rigid production structures when fast throughput was required. Now they are becoming obsolete. Instead of highly integrated, firmly linked lines, manufacturing experts increasingly favor modular production systems that can be flexibly combined.
The efficiency of serial processes and firmly linked production lines is undisputed. If one process step reliably follows the next, orders are processed in a short period of time. But rigid production structures also have disadvantages. The biggest is that it is costly or even impossible to realize customer-specific special orders. However, these have long been part of everyday life in many companies, even in the classic series production business. Some suppliers operate with 50,000 system products at annual repeat rates of 1.4.
So much need for agility makes highly integrated systems uneconomical. »High integration is the opposite of agile. Reprogramming integrated systems for customers who need special features is far too time-consuming and expensive,« sums up Dr. Hübert of BIOTRONIK. He is not alone in this assessment. Companies that manufacture a large proportion of their products only once carry out many process steps by hand. Extensive automation is not worthwhile for them; instead, they favor smaller, highly flexible systems technology.