Economics and Success Factors of Flexible Manufacturing Systems: The Conventional Explanation Revisited

Jukka Ranta, Jouri Tchijov

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    49 Citations (Scopus)


    This article analyzes costs and relative benefits of several hundred flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs) in the world. The analyses are based on the computerized data bases, which make it easy to correlate different cost and benefit indicators with each other and to look for regular patterns and tendencies in the applications. Both investment cost distributions and the system complexity distributions are analyzed.
    The relative benefits and advantages and their relationships are shown. Finally, technical and economic explanations for successful implementation strategies are given.

    The results show that there are two classes of economically successful systems. The small-scale and technically compact systems are usually used in small-batch production for the replacement of semimanual production. The main benefits are increased capacity and productivity as well as quality improvements. The large-scale and technically complex systems are used in large-volume production for the replacement of fixed automation and transfer lines.
    The benefits are mainly due to the increased potential for flexibility and capital savings.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-190
    JournalInternational Journal of Flexible Manufacturing Systems
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1990
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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