Transcended manufacturing, the manufacturing method that uses product independent process steps to make one-of-a-kind products at a mass-production output capacity
When the Industry 4.0 evolution continues, smart manufacturing becomes more advanced and the population’s product expectations increase. The advantages and value that highly personalized-products bring will drive initial development towards the mass-customization manufacturing method. In collaboration with Festo, Ben Kromhout researched possibilities for adding mass-customization into their cyber-physical factory system.
A production framework was created and a example product was developed to show off the Transcended Manufacturing principles and capabilities.
Transcended Manufacturing Graduation Project TU Delft
Within the mass-customization productlife-cycle the factory has the complex task of transforming unique product-recipe files and stocked goods into finished products at a mass-production pace. This is no easy task and requires Industry 4.0 Cyber-physical System technologies. The Cyber-physical Factory consists of participants on al hierarchical levels, from process-equipment, to products, to whole departments. They are connected in an industrial network and digitally represented in a real-time digital model following the Digital Twin principle. The Factory is in essence a multi-agent-system and requires a method to track each participant their physical state and synchronize it with the digital model. The system must be transparent and enable standardized communication between participants. They must be able to act autonomously on the gained information. The factory departments can optimize and reconfigure the internal systems constantly.
A transcend manufacturing factory is not determined by the product it makes, but by its capabilities. It theoretically exists before it is known what will be produced and its should be able to handle multiple different product-families with comparable process-requirements. Because of this, it is important that it is clear for all stakeholder what the capabilities and specifications are of the cluster. Therefore an industry standard is proposed for product factories, brand corporations, and manufacturing equipment suppliers (such as Festo) to communicate with each other, and have a framework to build into and onto.
For demonstration of the Transcended Manufacturing method the computer mouse is chosen, because it provides a realistic business-case, it exemplifies mass-customization, and it enables further research and demonstration. Because of personalization every mouse will be unique. In the beginning-of-life phase of the computer mouse sub-components and the product itself will travel through the factory cluster towards each other to be assembled into the final personalized product.
The only missing system for Festo’s CP Factory to produce the personalizable computer mouse is the FDM module. A production framework is created and prototyped. The FDM module has a stack height defined by the frame and is designed to hold multiple of printer-modules. The modules in combination with its frame and elevator system is the ‘FDM-cabinet’.