Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems 101

A reconfigurable manufacturing system (RMS) is designed to accommodate rapid change in the manufacturing process, from its design down to its hardware. The goal is to quickly adjust production or functionality in response to market changes. An RMS differs from a flexible manufacturing system (FMS) in a several key areas.

     An FMS’ goal is to increase the variety of parts it can produce, while an RMS is focused on responding to the rapid changes in the market.

     An RMS has flexibility, but only to the extent necessary to produce a family of parts, while an FMS has general flexibility across the board.

     FMS is perfect for small sets of products while RMS can vary its production from very small to very large.

If it’s been determined that a reconfigurable manufacturing system will be best for your facility, there are six key characteristics the RMS must have. Those are:

  • Modularity
  • Integrability
  • Customized Flexibility
  • Scalability
  • Convertibility
  • Diagnosability

Modularity pertains to building the system with several small, modular parts that can be repaired/modified without affecting the rest of the system. Integrability refers to the system’s ability to integrate said modules quickly into the system. Customization refers to the ability to design the manufacturing system about a group of products. Scalability means the ability to change production capacity by rearranging the system. Convertibility refers to changing the function of existing systems to perform a new task. Lastly, diagnosability means the system’s ability to recognize the state of the machinery and detect causes of defects, thus planning a fix to the defects.

An RMS is all about quick response, cost-effectiveness and adaptability. If you work in an industry that experiences regular changes in demand and product functionality, a reconfigurable manufacturing system could be a great option. What are some ways you’ve used an RMS in the past? Share with us in the comments below and be sure to visit us online at or call us at 1-877-249-1701 to learn more about our services. We’re proud to offer Surplus, Complete Repair and Maintenance on all types of Industrial Electronics, Servo Motors, AC and DC Motors, Hydraulics and Pneumatics. Please subscribe to our YouTube page and Like Us on Facebook! Thank you!

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