Mechanics of change: A framework to reconfigure manufacturing systems

Research output: Journal contributionsJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


  • Ahmed Abdelhay Azab
  • Hoda ElMaraghy
  • Peter Nyhuis
  • Julia Pachow-Frauenhofer
  • M. Schmidt

Reconfigurable manufacturing is a promising new paradigm, which covers many aspects of change from reconfigurable machine tools to transformable factories. A control analogy is offered to capture and theorize about the mechanisms required for manufacturing reconfiguration. The mapping between different change enablers and those for sustainability is proposed as an ultimate goal of any manufacturing system. Manufacturing systems reconfiguration is portrayed as a controller, which minimizes the deviations between current values of reconfigurability and sustainability metrics and their respective reference values. Change in a reconfigurable manufacturing system may take place within each configuration flexibility corridor or beyond involving machines and/or the whole system. The mechanics and set points to reconfigure such systems at these levels are analyzed. The change control loop is extended by taking into consideration the supply and return of machines and system modules required for reconfiguration. The proposed change framework and control loop enables companies to systematically assess the need for reconfiguration in light of market supply and demand for their products and determine the extent, timing, economic viability and feasibility of contemplated changes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCIRP - Journal of Manufacturing Science and Technology
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)110-119
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.2013
Externally publishedYes

    Research areas

  • Configuration synthesis, Control-loop, Reconfigurable manufacturing systems, Sustainability
  • Engineering