DESIGN OF A NOVEL POT MANUFACTURING MECHANISM USING RECONFIGURABLE MANUFACTURING SYSTEM PRINCIPLES
Research into the design methodology of drawing die sets and tools for reconfigurability is presented. The development of machine tools and systems for the future has seen significant research efforts, which started in 1999 when Ulsoy and Koren suggested systems capable of reconfiguration. The concept of reconfiguration has a goal of addressing the uncertainties of ever-changing market needs and volumes. The current design of pot manufacturing dies allow for only one particular pot product to be made from a single die. This increases the cost of developing dies for a family of pot products. A novel reconfigurable die set has been used in this study to reduce the number of die sets necessary to manufacture a family of pot products. Design methodologies for reconfigurable machine tools follows the generic machine design framework, with early configuration generation being key. The area of die designing is a specialised trade requiring vast experience and skill. The research benefits from computer aided design as a tool necessary to bridge the knowledge gap between the researcher and the field experts. The designed system theoretically achieved a change over time of 2 minutes during simulation runs compared to the traditional machine change over time average of 2 hours. The research process could not produce a prototype due to resource constraints. Fabricating a prototype would have however been instrumental in validating the simulation runs.