Batch size 1 in machine manufacturing
Machine manufacturers are adding more and more special-purpose machines and machine variants to their product portfolios. Because each variant usually has to be designed from scratch, the amount of engineering work involved increases substantially.
Product customization has increased across all industries in recent years. Consumers have grown to expect nearly every individual wish to be met – all the way down to batch size 1. This trend directly impacts the machines used to manufacture these products.
Only a few years ago, the typical portfolio of a machine manufacturer consisted mostly of standard machines manufactured in large quantities; since then, customer-specific variants and machine options have become the norm.
Machine variants alone cannot fulfill all consumer needs, however. Machine manufacturers also adapt their machines to the regional requirements of the companies producing the end products. One machine series is distinguished from the next by the performance of components, the selection of operator panels or the range of available functions, for example.
Machine manufacturers are then faced with the challenge of economically and efficiently developing and automating all these different variants.