Monday, November 08, 2004

Agile manufacturing

The term "agile manufacturing" can have different definitions, depending on how the term is used. As a result, it can be confused with similar and related terms such as "flexible manufacturing" and "just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing." The most useful definition, however, describes it as the ability to achieve rapid changeover between the manufacture of different assemblies. This is extremely helpful in modern contexts, wherein product changeover is frequent.

Agile manufacturing is more of engineering than science; however, we shall mention it here because its effective use ideally requires the application of diverse intelligent disciplines -- computer vision and object recognition, intelligent robotic manipulation, intelligent object sensing and so forth. As such, it can straddle the boundary between science and engineering.

This philosophy also requires tight mechatronic integration, interlinking mechanical, electronic and software design in a synergistic manner.