Innovative FMS: How Does Flexible Manufacturing System Work?

How Does Flexible Manufacturing System Work? This system is a production method employed to increase adaptability to changes in the manufacturing process.
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One of the key enablers of the agility needed nowadays in the manufacturing industry is the Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS). But how does a flexible manufacturing system work, and what are its benefits? Let’s explore the innovative FMS and discover how it can revolutionize manufacturing processes, and Product Design and Development.

At ARRK North America, our team of engineers and designers like to be always updated with the latest technologies that improve processes making them more efficient and reliable. Such is the case of FMS, let’s learn more about it!

What is a Flexible Manufacturing System?

A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is an integrated manufacturing setup that allows for the efficient production of a variety of products with minimal manual intervention. The core of an FMS lies in its ability to adapt to changes, whether it’s in the type of product being manufactured or the volume of production required. This adaptability is achieved through the integration of computer-controlled machinery, automated material handling, and advanced software systems that manage the production processes.

Components of an FMS

  1. Automated Machinery: CNC machines, robotic arms, and other programmable devices form the backbone of an FMS, allowing for precision and consistency in manufacturing.
  2. Material Handling Systems: Automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS), conveyor belts, and automated guided vehicles (AGVs) ensure the smooth and efficient movement of materials within the manufacturing setup.
  3. Control Systems: Centralized control units with sophisticated software manage the entire manufacturing process, from scheduling and monitoring to quality control and maintenance.
  4. Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs): These interfaces enable operators to interact with the system, make adjustments, and oversee the production process.

How Does an FMS Work?

At its core, an FMS uses automation and computer control to facilitate a seamless and dynamic manufacturing process. Here’s a step-by-step overview of how an FMS typically operates:

  1. Design and Planning: The process begins with the design and planning phase, where engineers use CAD/CAM software to create detailed models and define the manufacturing parameters. This data is then fed into the FMS’s control system. At ARRK, our team specializes in design for, always offering a wide variety of prototype finishing options for testing.
  2. Material Loading: Raw materials are loaded into the system, either manually or through automated material handling equipment. The FMS’s software schedules the materials based on the production requirements.
  3. Production Scheduling: The control system schedules the production tasks, assigning them to specific machines and workstations. It optimizes the workflow to minimize downtime and ensure efficient use of resources.
  4. Automated Production: The machines carry out the manufacturing processes, guided by the programmed instructions. This can include machining, assembly, inspection, and other tasks. The material handling system moves the parts between workstations as needed.
  5. Quality Control: Integrated sensors and inspection systems monitor the production process in real time, ensuring that the products meet the specified quality standards. Any deviations are flagged for corrective action.
  6. Adaptability and Scaling: The FMS can quickly adapt to product design or production volume changes. This is achieved through reprogramming the control software and adjusting the machinery setup, often with minimal physical modifications.

Applications of Flexible Manufacturing Systems


FMS is particularly advantageous in industries where customization, precision, and rapid response to market changes are crucial. Here are a few examples:

Automotive Industry
In the automotive sector, an FMS can manage the production of various car models and components on the same assembly line. This flexibility supports the manufacturing of customized vehicles and the incorporation of new technologies without extensive retooling.

Our clients from the aerospace industry benefit from FMS because they typically produce complex, high-precision components for aircraft. The ability to handle diverse materials and intricate designs ensures that parts meet stringent industry standards.

Consumer Electronics
For consumer electronics, where product lifecycles are short and demand for customization is high, an FMS enables the efficient production of various gadgets and components, keeping pace with technological advancements and market trends.

Medical Devices
In the medical device industry, FMS supports the production of specialized equipment tailored to individual patient needs. The system’s precision and adaptability are crucial for meeting regulatory requirements and ensuring patient safety.

A flexible manufacturing system works excellently for Low-volume Production; however, it can be implemented for mass production as well. Offering adaptability, efficiency, and quality. By integrating advanced automation and control technologies, an FMS enables companies to respond swiftly to market demands, scale production, and maintain consistent quality.

Reach out to us to learn more about how does a flexible manufacturing system work and seek guidance from our experts who will accompany you throughout the entire process of bringing your idea to life. We enjoy working hand-in-hand with our clients to make sure that we are achieving and exceeding the client’s expectations from the beginning. If you liked this article, consult, arrk’s top-notch quality craftsmanship: soft good products or all you need to know: what is the microwave molding process?

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