From cars and computers to furniture and even homes, modular assemblies have made the manufacturing process fast, easy and cost-effective for many old and new industries.
The strict definition of this process is dividing a system or process into small parts, or modules, which can then be created independently and used over and over again in the main process.In theory it's very simple, but preparation is required before this kind of system functions well.
A modular assembly manufacturing process can help a company in so many ways.
First, it gives you control over what can or should be changed in the process to make it efficient and beneficial. There's almost on-demand flexibility to meet the need for an updated process that creates the desired product change. That is extremely important in today's fast-changing manufacturing environment. You also have the flexibility to postpone a particular design decision for a new or existing product. Together these factors create the ability to quickly adapt to new industry technologies or strategies.
Along with design flexibility, modular assemblies reduce the need for and the cost of time-consuming customizations while allowing you to easily augment your processes, that is, to add a new step or solution simply by plugging in a new component.
You no longer have to stop the manufacturing process to add or change a step, which means no loss of income from down time. Instead, you can locate the problem in a specific module and simply swap out that for one that functions correctly.
Modular processes also reduce the amount of manufacturing floor space needed for the same amount of output. This is because one work area can now handle many different production requirements without the need for many different machines. Some processes will even run via desktop manufacturing.
Finally, if you have several product lines and demand increases for a particular product, modular assembly lets you easily convert one or more of the other product lines over to the high-demand product so you can meet your customers' requests.
Almost any product manufactured today can be made easily the cost-effectively with modular assemblies. In fact, the process has been around in some form for many years. Early examples of this process include pipe organs, rail road signals, looms, and systems for power distribution. More modern illustrations of modular assembly systems are computers, cars, lighting, electronics, tempered glass, metal stampings, extrusions,wiring, gaskets, rubber seals and buildings from homes to high-rises.
The advantage today is that computers now develop fantastic modular systems that can quickly adapt to changes in both manufacturing processes and customer demands. As a result, OEMs can easily design the perfect fit for any number of products and projects, whether you need to add a small clip or perform an in-depth quality check of part verification.
If you think that modular assemblies can help your business, be aware that setting up and implementing these systems will require changing many aspects of your company and its business processes over both the short and long term.
The good news is that there are many companies that specialize in setting up these specialized systems for various businesses, which can mean a much faster set-up time with few or no serious set-backs in your current manufacturing processes. If you're serious about the switch, it's worth every penny to get the benefit of their experience so you can reap the rewards.
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