Convertibility Evaluation of Automated Assembly System Designs for High Variety Production

Malarvizhi Kaniappan Chinnathai*, Bugra Alkan, Robert Harrison

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference Paperpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The recent advancements in technology and the high volatility in automotive market compel industries to design their production systems to offer the required product variety. Although, paradigms such as reconfigurable modular designs, changeable manufacturing, holonic and agent based systems are widely discussed to satisfy the need for product variety management, it is essential to practically assess the initial design at a finer level of granularity, so that those designs deemed to lack necessary features can be flagged and optimised. In this research, convertibility expresses the ability of a system to change to accommodate product variety. The objective of this research is to evaluate the system design and quantify its responsiveness to change for product variety. To achieve this, automated assembly systems are decomposed into their constituent components followed by an evaluation of their contribution to the system's ability to change. In a similar manner, the system layout is analysed and the measures are expressed as a function of the layout and equipment convertibility. The results emphasize the issues with the considered layout configuration and system equipment. The proposed approach is demonstrated through the conceptual design of battery module assembly system, and the benefits of the model are elucidated.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017
Event27th CIRP Design Conference 2017 - Cranfield, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 May 201712 May 2017


Conference27th CIRP Design Conference 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Assembly systems
  • convertibility
  • design evaluation
  • product variety


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