Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Title Manufacturing Systems
Code MNFG401
Coordinator Dr P Fox
Mechanical, Materials & Aerospace Eng
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2020-21 Level 7 FHEQ First Semester 15


To obtain an overall understanding of manufacturing systems.

To understand manufacturing systems on the global, company, factory and shop floor scale.

To enable students to understand that manufacturing systems function at many levels within a Global Company and to identify the interactions between the systems at different levels.

To understand the function of a Manufacturing System at each level and be able to articulate the factors that control the system at that level, while also being able to take a holistic view of the system.

To be able to examine a pre-existing system, identifying points of weakness and how that system may be improved, given the external and internal constraints.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) On successful completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the different levels of a Manufacturing System from Global Company to Shop Floor and Individual Machine, being able to articulate how these levels interact and how this interaction is accomplished.

(LO2) On successful completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the factors internal to the Manufacturing Systems that affect behaviour and robustness. While showing an understanding of how these can be controlled and modified to change the system.

(LO3) On successful completion of the module, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the importance of data and computer systems in controlling complex companies and manufacturing systems, identifying what in these system may lead to failure or the creation of waste.

(LO4) On successful completion of the module, students should be able to identify in systems the presence of waste, to identify processes that are not efficient and consider methods to improve these systems, and be able to report this in a concise manner.

(S1) Critical thinking and problem solving - Critical analysis

(S2) Commercial awareness - Relevant economic/political understanding

(S3) Commercial awareness - Relevant understanding of organisations

(S4) Critical thinking and problem solving - Problem identification



1) Introduction to Manufacturing Systems Module Aim: Over view of Manufacturing Systems. Areas covered from Global strategy of manufacturing companies, through the functions of companies and factories to the shop floor and machines. To show that the parts of the system are not independent and that they are linked to each other.

Module Layout: Explain structures/layout of module (VITAL). How the course will be delivered. How will be assessed including the course work, (hand in dates).

Introduce Manufacturing Systems: Investigate meant by Manufacturing Systems, consider with the class what is meant. Give simple examples of what may be involved in the system from logistics, storage, data systems and finance to production lines and equipment.

How the module is structured and why: Moving down through the structure of manufacturing systems from Global Companies, then companies, factories and shop floor systems to give a holistic view of the systems. Introduce the higher structures of the systems as well as the more specific requirements of shop floors. Each layer will cover specific topics as stated further down in this document, some of these could be considered under more than one heading but will be assigned to one only.

Introduction to CIM: CIM how it is defined, vague, many meanings. Take the widest approach. CIM wheel (later version) centred about the customer. Explain each section and what they relate to. CIM as the inter connections between different activities in Manufacturing.

Manufacturing Systems engineering: discussion of jobs in the field/ what is carried out how it is defined.

2) Global Manufacturing Systems Aim: Introduce global manufacturing, the manufacturing systems used, their requirement and interactions. To present the complexity of the modern manufacturing process chain and the interactions of manufacturing companies. Consider interactions between separate companies and how this affect the manufacturing system s used. To consider the interactions between companies and governments and how this affect manufacturing systems.

Complex company interactions (one company making for another): Complex interactions between companies, using examples from the automotive industry. One company designing and making a product that is sold by another company (competitor) as a different brand. The life time of such deals and the effects of when they end.

Complex company interactions (the companies forming a joint company): One company formed as a joint venture between three others. Badge engineering, avoiding competition by using different trim qualities. Complex situation more from an organisation side as the joint company is independent but affected by politics.

Complex company interactions (ownership): Financial inter-twinning of companies.

Complexity of supply chains: Discuss the interconnectivity/complexity of modern manufacturing systems on a global scale, with examples from elect ronics industry. Show the geographical diversity of the systems, the complex logistics and supply lines. Discuss the difficulty in maintaining this system. Global Effects on Manufacturing Systems: Politics: Complex interplay between large global companies and the government of countries. Identification of these interactions, how companies influence governments and how government affect companies. The effects of resource shortages and government control of supply. Effects on manufacture costs, uncertainty of supply. Difficulty in planning. Effects of lack of control or planning. Effects of control of borders. Dumping and Import/Export tariffs. Effects of embargoes. Effects of local laws on importing.

Global Effects on Manufacturing Systems:

Non Political: Company complexity, managing the company, complex interactions internal/external. Labour costs, effects of lack of suitably skilled work force. Effects of historical precedent, fixed ways of working. Effects of security, bo th of the goods, IP and working practices. Securing secure supply lines across countries, securing communications. Effects of countries with strong demand on the location of manufacturing. Why manufacture where the goods are sold and for what types of goods. Effects of currency fluctuations of profits/costs of manufacturing, effect on global manufacturing process. Special emphasis on the effects on manufacturing costs and how these can be greater than local labour costs. Effects of the use of multiple languages on company function. Use of a single language, difficulty in doing so, cost of translators. Effects of errors in communication. Effects of times zones. Communication problems, asynchronous working. Passing work round the world, to avoid night shifts, works with design computing not objects. Effects of delivery times, tracking of parts, Effects of patents and patent trading, considering the effect of patent wars on the ability to manufacture/sell in specific countries.

Glob al Companies: Discuss Toyota, Boeing, Nissan, Fiat methods of approaching manufacturing systems Global

Philosophies: 6 sigma, lean manufacturing, JiT introduce the concepts and the names explain they are approaches rather than recipes. Explain they can be applied badly.

Toyota Production System: Commonly considered system read on their own. Encourage students to see the similarities and differences between company approaches. Most are very similar. Show how they do not provide mechanisms or fine detail of how improvement is achieved. Nissan

Production Way:

Philosophy: Introduce the philosophy, the tow never ending. Show how it is a global approach. Show how it simply signifies 1) producing what the customer wants by supplying what people want/ will buy. Fulfilling their wishes rather than building what they think they want. 2) Improving the production system to improve efficiency, reduce breakdowns, and reduce recalls/warranty repairs. This creates a product th at people want, at a price that can be afforded, that does the job in an efficient and reliable manner Nissan Production Way Convert philosophy in to action: Use slides from Nissan to show the use of flexibility, synchronized production (lean manufacturing by another name) and comparisons through bench marking to identify problems to be fixed. Then how they are applied to change the internal processes and systems. Consider size of the Nissan Company and where it is in the world to give a sense of the size and complexity. Consider the role of standardisation of plants cross the world in reducing costs and variability. Finding the correct way to do something only once. Consider the use of centres of excellence to define best practice and then export to the factories. Use of experts to teach the whole company. Incorporate into these teaching centres to disseminate best practise. Digitize, measure and quantify data, design models to identify when and why processes are not reliable. Transfe r these methods to all factories. Consistent quality in all places. Design transport and packaging, to reduce costs, in one centre. Use of one central resource to cut costs and concentrate expertise. In this case for a very specific purpose, but one that is a major cost. Show that although reducing interfaces in designs is sometimes an advantage there are also costs. These are often related to transport and packaging. The development of virtual reality to design products and shop floors. The testing of models rather than prototypes to speed up development. The sharing of information across the company and the organisation of information is critical. Show the similarity of “the Nissan Way” to Lean Manufacturing, with the reduction in on shop floor stocks and automation of production. How Global Manufacturing can fail.

What are the negative effects of this process: Reliance on suppliers in single locations, even if they are more than one company. Show how natural disa sters of fairly small parts can stop manufacturing around the world. Examples from earth quakes and floods. Effects of standardisation of parts across large numbers of goods, can be positive but can cause massive recalls. Especially if the fault is ignored or not detected. The full system not working correctly, possibly due to poor company culture. Early reporting detection is important. Fine-tuned “Just in Time” or Lean systems can damage suppliers as requirements ramp up and down quickly, causing cast flow problems. 3) Company Aim: To discuss how a company controls the manufacturing process. Identify which processes are controlled at a company level and which at a lower level. For smaller companies these will be the same. To discuss the processes of long term planning, the use of data both to meet customer needs but also to oversee quality control. These tend to be processes not directly related on to the shop floor although so may actually occur there Processes at comp any level: Sections of CIM diagrams, identifying the sections that are not directly involved with the shop floor. This is the creation of new products and customer support. Also location of factories. Identify product processing, planning. The needs of companies change over time so production planning needs to evolve with the production. Identify Customer support. Customer support is important although this may not be the final customer, companies normally sell to other companies on individuals. Parts supply into other companies. Interactions including delivery deadlines and quality issues. Identify an overarching view of all activities in the company, from finance, costs, IP, contracts, outsourcing, Traceability, anti-counterfeit methods. The need to protect product and company name. Integration of systems, data collection and processing. How is the data handled? What data is stored where?

Planning and control (MPC systems): Facilities planning sites. Companies often change requ irements so the Manufacturing System requirements may be different. Factories sometime need refitting, or should they be moved, new builds. Some of the factors that affect the choice was mentioned under global, political and financial, but there are others. New factories may be better, if moved closer to customers or suppliers. Effects of labour skills. Is there suitable methods of moving product? This is balanced by land costs, taxation and special requirements. Also sometime to spread risk none optimum locations may be chosen. Placing all production in one place can be a costly mistake. Factory positions may be poor but relocation is not easy due to prior investment. Operational Planning. Planning to control production levels, based on predictions of future demand (1 year), but is then adjusted. How to handle changes in demand. Demand exceeds supply, Supply exceeds demand, and both match. What flexibility is there, what can be changed effects on costs, effects on suppliers. New Produ cts, types of new product, revolution or evolution how they are handled. Does the market exist, can the product be slotted into current production lines. Effect on risk. Sources of new products type of new product. Importance of planning in risk mitigation.

To understand how a company controls the manufacturing systems: How are the planning and other systems controlled so as to retain knowledge, and to determine why choices were made. Computer systems and control of manufacturing. How to manage planning. Dangers of incorrect use of software. Project planning software. Types and what it does. The myth of the man month, parallel vs serial processes.

How a company controls the process, to meet orders: ERP. The managing of these complex process have led to specialist software (Enterprise Resource Planning). This is integration of the company systems to make information easier to access, stores in a single place. Can include customer relation management. Advantages and disadvant ages database systems used behind ERP and other software.

Quality Control (overall control) ISO standards: Quality is not a measure of quality but instead consistency. Does the product match the design intent? How to measure, how to control. Separate what is done on the shop floor from what occurs at company level. International standards, what they are and how they are used. How they are guidelines. What the standard are and how they are applied. How Quality is managed to allow the manufacturing system to function. Concepts like TQM, 6 sigma, explain what they are explain that they are philosophies not methods, although some have some underlying statistical ideas they use. Applied well they work but if not they are just meeting and words. Requires skills rather than philosophies measuring and recording quality, use of QMS or integrated systems. Use to feedback into the system to improve the process so as to make less waste. Measurements/ analysis identify routes of problems, bac k to 5 whys. Used to reduce costs, less returns, happy customers. Traceability, anti-counterfeit methods. Examples of when traceability failed. Examples of counterfeit products causing problems.

Waste management: This is at company level so not reuse of production line waste but reverse flow of materials, recycling/ remanufacturing. Reuse of product. Advantages to the company that are nothing to do with green behaviour. Advantages of appearing green, tax breaks, reduced costs. Less reliance on outside supplies.

Control of Knowledge: Knowledge trading, Collaboration. Managing of records, storage in formats that can be sorted and searched. 4) Factory Aim: To discuss the movement and control of data within a factory, up into the company as a whole and from the production lines below.

What is a factory: Set out what constitutes a factory, that it is not just the production areas. Show how materials enter and leave and that data is processed and transmitted to and from sup pliers and to the rest of the company. Also how people are part of the system. Inputs and Outputs In General, physical inputs and output control of systems. Show how the system must be secured both for physical inputs but also data. Communication to other levels of the company.
Role of security: Introduce physical security and electronic security and why it is important with the value of the raw materials, finished parts, and intellectual property. System security considered later in this section.

CIM: Where in the CIM model does the factory fit, what processes occur. These are control processes above the shop floor, that control throughput and collect data to identify problems. They allow improvements of function and direct resources. The direct control of the lines will be considered at shop floor levels

Communication and networks: Control of the factory requires data in the same way as the higher levels of the company. This data is fed up to the company from the fac tory, and it is fed to the factory systems from the shop floor. Compare circa 2001 networks with 2014 networks to show how they have evolved. Changes on connections to the world and to the machines on the shop floor. How network types have changed with a concentration on Ethernet and the segregation of systems. The development of security problems, both by network intrusion and problems caused by the use of Wi-Fi. USB as a unique infection vector. Email infections and specific attacks on companies/factories (consider only blackmail/espionage at this level, consider damage to equipment later, with PLC infections). Use of switches/ router and firewalls to isolate systems. Systems that can be used to sniffer Wi-Fi and Wired networks, port scanning of machines. Public/private key encryption and its applicability to security and its use to extract money from companies. Application to VPN technologies to avoid the use of private connections and to allow work outside the company. The failure of such systems with the example of Hearbleed. Also Shellshock. Aspects of time in company systems. The importance of knowing the age of data. The sensitivity of systems to the age of data. NTP and PTP systems and their accuracy, the difficulty in operating such systems where all switches/machines create delays. Concept of UTC and daylight saving, leap seconds, leap years and the problems they cause. Effects of latency on systems and how this is different from bandwidth. Effects of latency on data. Locking of databases to avoid corruption, Inventory control: Three kinds of inventory: raw materials, work in progress, finished goods. Give examples of each and explain their importance. Materials Requirements Planning (MRP) Inventory control computer integrates production planning and inventory control. Arranges both order and delivery schedules. Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP II) An extension of MRP to include the whole company system, often part of the ERP.

Just in Time: redu cing inventory to a minimum to function.

Line loadings: Control systems for line loading at factory level, line load planning, control.

Capacity Planning: Production capacity planning to meet needs, design capacity. Lead strategy, Lag strategy, Match strategy, Adjustment strategy, application which situations. Stock Levels: Monitoring of stock levels, control of stock levels. Lean manufacturing/ Just in Time. Value control.

Reorder levels 5) Shop Floor Aim: Manufacturing Systems at the shop floor level. Introduce concept of shop floor and types of shop floor. Show how layout controls behaviour and design influences function. Show the complexity of the layout problem. Identify the types of machine of the floor and how they interact and how they interact with the people. Five type of Production System: Cell, NC, Flexible, Transfer, and Batch Flow. Discuss differences, design and application of each with examples.

Production Variety: Hard vs soft. Production quanti ty vs product variety. How this relates to production system. Requirement of flexibility. Production facilities and layout of systems. Spaghetti diagrams and process layout. Layout analysis. Comparison of systems and there application with examples. L shaped lines vs straight lines. Mixed or single product: Effect of system design.

Automation/ Communication Shop Floor: Communication signalling between machines that make up the line, communication with and between machines/people. Reasons for automation and where it is applicable. Reasons for not automating. Strategies for application/migration. Process Planning & Design: Route sheets. Tracking, manual/automatic. Reducing costs/time. Avoid fauls, controlling tolerances, on line meteorology. 6) Machines. Aim: Introduce the machines used in production and identify the types of work done. Concepts of machine control and automation. Concepts of on machine meteorology, avoidance of errors. Concepts of time, latency in communication and systems on machine function and how it can lead to errors.

Manufacturing Machines: Types of machine, how used and integrated into the line.

Measurement systems: online use of inspection systems. Where incorporated. Systems of control. Networks at machine level: Types, effects of latency, communication between network types. Parallel, Serial, Ethernet. Network reliability. Machine Level Control: PLCs function, how they work how they are used. Unexpected effects of how they work. Security of PLCs, Stuxnet.

Industrial Robot Systems: Use and application. Communication/ multiple robot systems. Line/robot balancing. Actuators

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture
Description: The course will change to a Flipped Class Room format. The current lectures will be converted to videos for the students to watch and then the contact time, that was used for lectures, will be used for discussion and tutorial, using articles from the news. This will give context to the materials being taught and relate it to the current World situation. The assessments will be as before as before.
Teaching Method 2 - Other

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 24


Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 114


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 1 There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. Assessment Schedule (When) :Semester 1  2 hours    60       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 2 Coursework Submitted via VITAL  12 hours    40       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.