Europe, as most other OECD areas, is confronted with major potential opportunities in the decades to come. Although often portrayed as threats, the symptoms being denoted in the European economy are, in fact, part of a shift in knowledge and technology infrastructures created by these trends. These current challenges being faced by manufacturing companies nowadays require production systems to become ever more responsive and agile. This is particularly relevant to micro-products, since manual assembly becomes impossible, rendering outsourcing strategies less effective if not deliberately negative. Furthermore, traditional approaches to R&D in this field no longer suffice to cope with the challenges imposed since these imply new business methods, continuous technological evolution, and the increased tendency towards networks of enterprises.
To meet such demands there is a need for new rapidly deployable and affordable (economically sustainable) microassembly systems based on reconfigurable, modular concepts that would allow continuous system evolution and seamless reconfiguration. Furthermore, as will be detailed later, one of the required foundations to sustainable assembly system concepts lies within a new way of thinking and working: a methodology that could integrate the various aspects related to the life cycle of the production systems, with particular focus being placed on the re-engineering phase. This article will present some definitions, clarify the basic approach, and outline the serious requirements being posed by such a paradigm: Evolvable Assembly Systems.
2005. 367-378 p.
Sixth IFlP International Conference on Information Technology for Balanced Automation Systems in Manufacturing and Services; Vienna, Austria, 27-29 September 2004