Modular system design and control for flexible assembly

Sushil Rajput, David Bennett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flexible Assembly Systems (FASs) are normally associated with the automatic, or robotic, assembly of products, supported by automated material handling systems. However, manual assembly operations are still prevalent within many industries, where the complexity and variety of products prohibit the development of suitable automated assembly equipment. This article presents a generic model for incorporating flexibility into the design and control of assembly operations concerned with high variety/low volume manufacture, drawing on the principles for Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) and Just-in-Time (JIT) delivery. It is based on work being undertaken in an electronics company where the assembly operations have been overhauled and restructured in response to a need for greater flexibility, shorter cycle times and reduced inventory levels. The principles employed are in themselves not original. However, the way they have been combined and tailored has created a total manufacturing control system which represents a new concept for responding to demands placed on market driven firms operating in an uncertain environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-29
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Operations and Production Management
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1989


  • control systems
  • design
  • flexible assembly systems
  • flexible manufacturing systems
  • just-in-time
  • manufacturing
  • materials management
  • production


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