Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS)

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Definition of 'Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS)'

A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is a manufacturing system in which there is some amount of flexibility that allows the system to react in case of changes, whether predicted or unpredicted. This flexibility is generally achieved by the use of computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and computer-aided design (CAD). FMSs are often used in the production of high-precision parts, such as those used in the aerospace industry.

There are a number of different types of FMSs, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most common types include:

* Sequential FMSs: These systems are designed to produce a single product or family of products in a sequential manner.
* Parallel FMSs: These systems are designed to produce multiple products or families of products simultaneously.
* Cellular FMSs: These systems are designed to produce a variety of products or families of products in a cellular layout.

The choice of which type of FMS to use depends on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of the production run, the desired level of flexibility, and the budget available.

FMSs offer a number of advantages over traditional manufacturing systems, including:

* Increased flexibility: FMSs can be used to produce a variety of products or families of products, and they can be easily reprogrammed to produce new products or make changes to existing products.
* Reduced lead times: FMSs can produce products more quickly than traditional manufacturing systems, as they do not require as much setup time.
* Improved quality: FMSs can produce products with higher quality than traditional manufacturing systems, as they are less likely to make mistakes.
* Reduced costs: FMSs can reduce costs by reducing the need for human labor and by increasing productivity.

However, FMSs also have a number of disadvantages, including:

* High initial cost: FMSs are typically more expensive to purchase and install than traditional manufacturing systems.
* High maintenance costs: FMSs require a high level of maintenance to keep them running properly.
* Complex programming: FMSs can be complex to program, and this can make it difficult to make changes to the production process.

Overall, FMSs can be a good choice for manufacturers who need to produce a variety of products or families of products in a flexible and efficient manner. However, it is important to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of FMSs carefully before making a decision about whether or not to invest in one.

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