Integrated design environment for reusable modular assembly systems

Abstract Purpose – This work provides a service-based integrated prototype framework for the design of Reusable Modular Assembly Systems (RMAS), which incorporates reusability of equipment into the process. It extends AutomationML (AML) developments for an engineering data exchange to incorporate and standardize the data formats that supports the design of RMAS. Design/methodology/approach – The approach provides a set of systematic procedures and support tools for the design of RMAS. This includes enhanced domain knowledge models that facilitate the interpretation and integration of information across the design phases. Findings – The inclusion of reusability aspects in the design phase improves the sustainability of future assembly systems, by ensuring equipment use until its end-of-life. Moreover, the integrated support tools reduce the design time, while improving the quality/performance of the design solution. The improvement is achieved through the exploration of a larger solution space. This will result in a better response to dynamic and rapidly changing system requirements. Social implications – This work provides a sustainable approach for the design of Modular Assembly Systems (MAS), which will ensure better resource utilization. Additionally, the standardization of the data and the support of low cost tools is expected to benefit companies, particularly Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Originality/value – This approach offers a service-based platform which uses production data to incorporate reusability aspects in the design process of MAS. Moreover, it provides a framework for modular assembly system design by enhancing the current design processes and interactions between stakeholders. To support this, a standardized method for information representation and exchange across the several phases of the RMAS design activity is briefly illustrated with an industrial case study.