This thesis focuses on addressing the need for a new approach to the design and
implementation of manufacturing control systems for the automotive industry and in
particular for high volume engine manufacture. Whilst the operational domain in the
automotive industry has moved to lean production techniques, the design of presentday
manufacturing control systems is still based on systems intended for use in a mass
production environment. The design and implementation of current manufacturing
control systems is therefore inappropriate when viewed from a business context. The
author proposes that it is possible to create a more appropriate manufacturing control
systems based on an optimised use of advanced manufacturing technology within the
complete business context.
Literature is reviewed to provide a detailed understanding of the relationship between
modem operating practices and the application of contemporary control systems. The
primary tasks of manufacturing control systems, within the context of a structured
systems approach to manufacturing technology, production management and
industrial economics are identified. A study of modem manufacturing control system
technology is carried out, highlighting the fundamental principles that influence
application engineering in this area.
The thesis develops a conceptual design framework that aids the identification of
attributes required of a next generation manufacturing control system (NGCS), in
order to enhance the business performance of lean automotive manufacturing. The
architecture for a next generation control system is specified and a Proof of concept
system implemented. Potential advances over contemporary practice are identified
with the aid of a practical implementation at a major automotive manufacturer.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.