Manufacturing cells and manufacturing systems consist of a number of machines organized together to perform multiple operations on a product. Manufacturing cells and systems are constructed to take advantage of similarities in the parts and processes an organization uses, and includes designing automated systems to take the place of manual or staffed systems. Flexible manufacturing systems are designed to help organizations streamline their production processes as well as offer improved working conditions for their employees. Many engineering colleges and universities are offering courses on developing and designing manufacturing cells and systems.
Manufacturing cells or manufacturing systems comprise all of the operations required to manufacture a particular product or group of products. Instead of being organized functionally – all of the stamping equipment located in one specific area – manufacturing cells and systems contain of all of the machines and personnel necessary to create a product in one prescribed space, beginning with the raw materials through to the finished product. The proximity of machines in a manufacturing cell cuts down on waste that comes from having to transport materials from one department to another and offers workers an opportunity to be cross-trained on a variety of machines. Cellular or cell manufacture is designed to improve lead time, product cost, and create a more integrated and multi-skilled work force. To this end, a flexible manufacturing system provides a number of benefits.
Manufacturing cells and manufacturing systems are often used to streamline and automate material removal processes. There are many industrial robotic machines that can be integrated with deburring, grinding, and cutting machines to facilitate the removal of waste materials. Material removal systems can also include ventilation systems and small fume removal systems. A small fume removal system is often used to remove smoke or mist, or collect dust. These manufacturing cells and manufacturing systems are used in welding, sanding, and other high-speed machining processes.