Towards a decision-support framework for reducing ramp-up effort in plug-and-produce systems

Nowadays, shorter and more flexible production cycles are vital to meet the increasing customized product demand. As any delays and downtimes in the production towards time-to-market means a substantial financial loss, manufacturers take an interest in getting the production system to full utilization as quickly as possible. The concept of plug-and-produce manufacturing systems facilitates an easy integration process through embedded intelligence in the devices. However, a human still needs to validate the functionality of the system and more importantly must ensure that the required quality and performance is delivered. This is done during the ramp-up phase, where the system is assembled and tested first-time. System adaptations and a lack of standard procedures make the ramp-up process still largely dependent on the operator’s experience level. A major problem that currently occurs during ramp-up, is a loss of knowledge and information due to a lack of means to capture the human’s experience. Capturing this information can be used to facilitate future ramp-up cases as additional insights about change actions and their effect on the system could be revealed. Hence, this paper proposes a decision-support framework for plugand-produce assembly systems that will help to reduce the ramp-up effort and ultimately shorten ramp-up time. As an illustrative example, a gluing station developed for the European project openMOS is considered.