Global environmental problems and advances in information technology have led to accelerated evolution in industrial products and intensification of international competition. Under such circumstances, one of a company's top priority issues is to make the production system highly adaptable to various changes in the market. For this purpose, we are developing a "lean automation system" by applying the concept of "lean production" developed mainly for human-centered production systems. In this study, we propose the design method of a lean automation system. We focus on the low utilization rates of mechanisms as MUDA at the equipment rather than the station level, and devise a method for increasing the utilization rates of the equipment by aggregating the same kind of operations, which are distributed across different stations. The method is applied to an assembly system of an electronic engine control unit to demonstrate its effectiveness for reducing the system cost significantly.
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