Factory-in-a-Box : an Enabler for Flexibility in Manufacturing Systems
Abstract: AT PRESENT, many markets are characterized by a fast pace of change, as well as a high internationally enlarged competition. Since the conception of Mass Customization emerged in the late 1980´s, many companies within the manufacturing industry have been striving to fulfill this vision by increasing the flexibility within their manufacturing system. However, although there are many manufacturing theories that describe theoretical solutions to mass customization, but there is still a lack of practical enablers that can realize the conception.In January 2005, the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research started the project Factory-in-a-Box. There, the key characteristic is to realize is the concept of modular production units that are flexible, mobile and quick to ramp-up. This licentiate thesis is a part of the Factory-in-a-Box project, and its objective is to investigate if and how the Factory-in-a-box concept is an enabler to realize flexibility in manufacturing systems.The outcome of this research work indicates that the Factory-in-a-Box concept is a plausible solution that goes in line with previous research and future challenges within the manufacturing industry. The Factory-in-a-Box concept offers possibilities for a more flexible and responsive manufacturing system, which also unwrap new business possibilities, increased automation, and entering new markets. To succeed in implementing the Factory-in-a-Box concept in a manufacturing system some key generic requirements have been identified.The research project concludes that mobile manufacturing systems in general and the Factory-in-a-Box concept in particular offer new possibilities to the manufacturing industry. Also, the concept is not limited to the manufacturing industry, there are a wide range of applications where the concept could be useful, for example within the construction industry.
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