Flexible and modular production machines : A guiding framework and the design of a packaging machine

University essay from Högskolan Väst/Institutionen för ingenjörsvetenskap

Author: Daniel Helmersson; [2023]

Keywords: Logistics; flexibility; factories;

Abstract: To increase production and reduce intermediate storage in the factory a new flexible packaging machine is needed. The main purpose of this project is to design a new flexible and modular packaging machine and to create a new framework to use when designing new machines. Current research shows that no framework or practical guide for designing flexible and modular machines exist. A new framework is developed based on a literature study on flexibility in the industry with past, present, and future concepts. The proposed framework is a step-by-step tree/flowchart where each step has a set of rules/guidelines to follow. Along with the flowchart a help section is written to guide the user through the design steps. Existing industry standards are investigated to find a suitable structure for connecting the modules and the machine in the project. Results show that few standards exist in the connectivity structure for the industry.  To lower maintenance costs and increase operational reliability, predictive maintenance using edge computing is investigated. Using edge computing allows the machine to take advantage of predictive maintenance while being offline which makes it suitable for a moveable machine. Evaluation of predictive maintenance show that it still needs more research, and it is complex to implement, which makes it expensive for non-critical machines.The results of this project are a new proposed framework that was used in the project to design a new packaging machine and a flexible PLC program that is easily adaptable for changing modules. The proposed framework fills a gap in the practical usage of known concepts and was used while designing the new machine to evaluate its usability.

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