The development of manufacturing systems that are adaptive to the frequent changes in products and market conditions is becoming important with the increase in product variants and decrease in production volume of each variant to meet customers' demands while remaining profitable. Students mostly learn about various aspects ofproduct design, different production technologies and production planning techniques separately. It is important to provide students with hands-on experience in the whole integrated cycle ofproduct and manufacturing systems development in a realistic environment. This paper discusses the essential knowledge elements spanning the integrated product/system life cycle and the effects of changes in products and their order mix on the manufacturing system synthesis, design, control and operation. Particular emphasis will be placed on adaptable and changeable manufacturing systems which can respond quickly and efficiently to variations in products, product mix and production volume. There are many types of learning environments and factories that can lend themselves to systems-oriented training. They vary greatly in type, scope, function, size, and location but can offer a rewarding experience when coupled with appropriate learning modules and education pedagogy. A truly reconfigurable and changeable manufacturing assembly system, the iFactory, and an iDesign studio as well as the iPlan modules are used to demonstrate how students can gain valuable learning experience in interactive custom order placement using an iOrder tool which allows product customization and personalization, product design and rapid prototyping, order processing and scheduling, products assembly and inspection, as well as manufacturing systems design and synthesis for changeable requirements. This Learning Factory environment is the first of its kind which integrates products and systems development, operation and control. It offers a unique learning environment for senior undergraduate and graduate students as well as industrial trainees.
ElMaraghy, H., & ElMaraghy, W. (2015). Learning integrated product and manufacturing systems. In Procedia CIRP (Vol. 32, pp. 19–24). Elsevier B.V. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.procir.2015.02.222