Imagine a palletizing-machine, that stacks products.
Dependant on the product, another scheme of stacking must be done.
Pallet 1 is stacked with big boxes all positioned in the same direction, 4 layers high.
Pallet 2 is stacked with small long boxes, 8 layers high, 4 boxes one to another, 90 degrees turned, and where each layer is different to raise the stability.
Also this example is a typical task for flexible computer-automation.
What is the meaning of flexible automation, specific in industrial systems ?
Imagine an assembly-line for cars.
If this line is producing cars, the whole day the same model, in the same colour, with the same seats, with the same options on it, than we don’t speak about flexible automation.
But imagine a modern assembly-line for cars, where each car gets it’s personal touch, than you need a lot of more flexibility in your automation-system: with a connection to a database which contains custom-orders, machines that get a realtime setup of parameters by a computersystem, parts that are prepared in advance to be mounted at the correct moment in the correct car, giving feedback to the database about how the car was produced …
Another word, that is frequently used, is MES.
MES stands for: Manufactoring and Executing System.
It makes the link between the ERP-system (office) and the process control (workfloor), in big production-plants.
It gives the optimal possibility to bring flexibility in your industrial processes.