A reconfigurable manufacturing system (RMS) is designed for rapid adjustment of production capacity and functionality in response to new market conditions and new process technology. It has several distinct characteristics including modularity, integrability, customisation, convertibility and diagnosability. There are a number of key interrelated technologies that should be developed and implemented to achieve these characteristics. This paper examines and identifies these technologies. After a brief description of the RMSs and their goals, aspects of reconfiguration (reconfigurable system, software, controller, machine, and process) are explained; this provides one with a better understanding of the enabling technologies of RMSs. Some of the issues related to the technology requirements of RMSs at the system and machine design levels, and ramp -up time reduction are then explained. The paper concludes with descriptions of some of the future research directions for RMSs.
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