Versatile information provisioning in a configure-to-order production environment: a case study

Maaike Slot*, Erik Navis, Roy Damgrave, Eric Lutters

*Corresponding author for this work

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Problems or challenges at operational/tactical levels in configure-to-order production environments are more often than not caused by inadequate information provisioning. Additionally, incomplete, uncertain, and ambiguous information hampers adequate decision making and control. This is especially the case in configure-to-order environments, where there is a high variability in processes. Consequently, standard software solutions often fail to allow for the required flexibility, adaptability, and agility. Moreover, in industry, software solutions (be it PLM, ERP, IoT, …, MES or CAQ solutions), oftentimes tend to become dominant factors in primary processes, thus further stifling the anticipated flexibility. If, however, these software solutions – here conjointly referred to as Digital Infrastructure – are regarded as subcontractors in a digital twinning approach, the primary targets in production/assembly can remain the driver in the overall process. This paper depicts how this digital twinning approach can be used to establish versatile and adaptive information provisioning. To ensure that the approach is not merely a theoretical discourse, the approach is depicted based on a case study. This case study, embedded in a Dutch manufacturing company for special needs bicycles, is rooted in e.g., the seasonal fluctuation in the market, on the broad product portfolio, but foremost on the ability to strengthen customisation as the unique selling point in that portfolio. For this reason, a use case focuses especially on one of the most demanding parts of the production/assembly-line: the welding robot digital twin for frame welding. On the one hand, this twin encounters all product variants and exceptions; moreover, this twinning approach will aim to provide decision support for upscaling of the production facilities. Next to this specific application, the paper also addresses the middleware solution that is under development to integrate individual applications in the bigger company context and strategy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1469-1474
Number of pages6
JournalProcedia CIRP
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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