A DTI/Famos project on the automation of large scale assembly (ALASCA) started in February 1992 with four British and three European partners. It involves examining the feasibility of applying flexible automation to the assembly of products with an enclosing volume of up to 2m × 1m × 1m and individual part masses of up to 50 kg. typified by user partner products such as car front end assemblies, large electrical and electronic cabinets and heavy goods vehicles braking systems.
The system specification has now been completed and system design has started. This paper outlines the possibilities considered, and the judgements made, when specifying a system configuration.
The results of a simulation of the system are also given which shows the effect on performance of the real problem of having to deal with products in batches of one which have significantly different assembly content.
For flexible line assembly, the system has to be balanced; a rule based method has been developed for task assignment which is done by reference to the precedence information for the products and this is described; a case study is then presented to indicate how the rule based method can be applied.