American Machinist

Flexible manufacturing systems are a must. (Viewpoint).

THE NEED FOR AGILE AND efficient use of capital has never been greater.

Manufacturers involved in high-volume production must quickly respond to changes in product life cycles without the time and expense historically associated with changeovers, especially those involving transfer lines.

Some Tier 1 auto suppliers employ a flexible-machining-system strategy to cost-effectively ramp up and debug production with machining centers. As production increases, these suppliers switch to a flexible-transfer-system until the product life cycle winds down. Once that happens, these companies move back to the machining centers to accommodate the drop in volume and retool the transfer system. …

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