The large product variety driven by customers’ preferences and fluctuation in number of product variants produced annually impose manufacturing challenges. Changeable, reconfigurable, adaptable and smart manufacturing (Industry 4.0) paradigms aim at dealing with these challenges. The implementation of such paradigms presents many challenges to industry. Learning factories can be used as a research test bed and in educating engineering students and practitioners with the required knowledge and continuing professional development. This paper demonstrates the steps involved in introducing a new product family to an existing changeable learning factory characterized by changeability enablers including mobility, modularity, scalability and convertibility. A new product family of belt tensioners is introduced as a new product for the assembly learning factory, the iFactory, in the Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) Center, which initially assembled a family of desk sets with 265 variants. All required steps starting with the rationale of selecting the new product family, process planning, redesign of fixtures, pallets, and system re-configuration are discussed. The ability of the modular learning factory to change and adapt to the new product family, the involved experiential learning objectives and benefits and research projects along with the experience with the transition to new products family are discussed.
ElMaraghy, H., Moussa, M., ElMaraghy, W., & Abbas, M. (2017). Integrated Product / System Design and Planning for New Product Family in a Changeable Learning Factory. Procedia Manufacturing, 9, 65–72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.promfg.2017.04.008