Until recently, Mr. Ford's assembly line had undergone little change since its invention, but the truth is that consumer habits have given line assembly a major turn lately.
What changes are we talking about?
- Greater customization of the product. Just look at the beverage cans with the name of the potential consumer.
- Reduction in the time to market of the product. Consumers demand to have the product as soon as possible.
- Adaptability or flexibility due to market variations; that is "the strongest animal does not survive, but the one that best adapts." A quick example from the automotive sector: when the car model has been in production for 3 years, the market demands greater connectivity with the cell phone.
How has the assembly line adapted to the three previous points? What technologies have been applied?
1. Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs). The contribution of the AGVs is relevant:
a) They allow the line not to be a fixed obstacle in the workshop. In addition, the potential of taking advantage of spaces is enormous.
b) Line modifications can be done in an agile way: adding and removing stations quickly, as well as allowing the route of the line to be easily modified.
A quick example of this technology can be seen in the following excavator assembly video from the American Red Viking: