Matrix production is part of flow production and is based on categorized and standardized production cells, which are arranged in almost any number on a grid. The cells contain, for example, turntables for storing components, tool holders and robots, the manufacturer explained . The system separates logistics and production, making it easy to handle a wide variety of processes. The components are transported by means of Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), as a YouTube video by KUKA shows. In contrast to rigid production processes, the matrix solution should above all offer more flexibility.
However, all theory is gray. To demonstrate the advantages of the system vividly, Kuka has built a pilot facility at its Augsburg location, which will open on March 20, 2018. It should be able to be converted within a short time and need no more space than a conventional linked production line. In addition, interim storage is obsolete. The material warehouse is centralized and the components are transported by the AGVs into the cells. At the Hanover Fair (April 23 - 27, 2018), KUKA will be represented in Hall 17 at booths G03 and G04 and with the IIoT platform (Industrial Internet of Things) of the data subsidiary connyun (hall 17, booth G17) .
The implementation of matrix productions to this extent is still relatively new and was only made possible by the technological progress towards Industry 4.0. Therefore, such production concepts are the focus of research. At the TU Braunschweig , for example, several master’s theses examine the capacity, configuration, and layout planning as well as the production planning of matrix solutions.