Design for Manufacture – FMS

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FMS Automation in Manufacturing

The major goals of FMS automation in manufacture are to integrate various operations to improve productivity, increase product quality and uniformity, minimise cycle times and effort and reduce labour costs.


Few developments in the history of manufacture have had a more significantimpact than robots and computers. The use of them covers a broad range ofapplications, including computer aided design, material handling, assembly,automated inspection, testing of products and manufacturing processes.

In this report, we will discuss on the design formanufacture of motor heatsink products and its supplied components which arecritical in the motor and drive industry. A machining layout will be drawn formanufacturing of grooves of the heatsink. A corresponding cell layout of theplant will also be drawn for the all assembly and processes. Finally, a discussionon the available commercial software evaluation will be carried out for such adesign of manufacture for motor heatsink.


Flexible manufacturing system (FMS)is a framework that includes every aspect of the engineering manufacturing process,from the initial design stage through to the more important fabrication andassembly stages, with an aim to making the manufacture of the product suitableto represent all aspects of the product’s life-cycle. FMS may involve minimisingmaterials cost, or even selecting a process to achieve a particular surface finish.However, minimising cost over the product life-cycle is generally considered asthe most important objective of FMS.

The cost reductions can beachieved through a ‘fine tuning’ process, component by component, after theproduct has been designed. The key to this method is through applying productsimplification, often by analysis using design for assembly. Alternatively, large changes to theproduct’s fundamental structure can have massive impacts on the product’s cost.But such large changes are best treated during design, rather than after thedesign is relatively complete.

In a standard linear manualdesign process, a product is usually designed and detailed before themanufacturing cost is estimated. Unfortunately, by that point it is too late toimprove the costing: the opportunity to consider different design ideas andalternatives is lost.

Some companies implement FMS butdo not consider the entire product life cycle. This is generally because theyhave not found it necessary in the past to do so while remaining profitablecompanies. However, the times are changing for product assembly and production.And it will become a fundamental business requirement for companies to addresswhole product life cycles with FMS.



There are two types of materials that can beclassified under metallic non-ferrous and aesthetically pleasing. The twomaterials are aluminium and copper. Optimum designed aluminium heatsinks have ahigher thermal performance than copper-based heatsinks. Aluminium is as good ascopper for a uniform heat source. Copper heatsinks might be advantagesdepending on the heat source size, i.e. when the heat source becomes smaller.At higher motor velocities, percentage difference between copper and aluminiumbecomes more pronounced.

Itis widely known that copper conducts heat better than aluminum, but aluminum convectsheat better than copper. This is the main reason why copper at higher airvelocities performs better, because it can get the heat from die to fin fasterthan aluminum. If the air velocity is kept low, then the aluminum performsbetter, because it’s more efficient at convection.The main important factor in a motor heatsinkis its natural ability to dissipate the largest amount of heat in the shortest possibletime. The material is one factor that plays an important role in itsability. Aluminium is the more popular choice for a vast majority ofheatsinks Aluminum is an excellent conductor of heat, and considered cheaperthan copper. Almost all heatsinks are made of metal because of the need ofsuch conduction property. It is all about displacing and transfer of heat fromthe running motor to the heatsink material. The suitable material must have theability to absorb a lot of heat, quickly. Copper seems to be more betterthan aluminium in this ability.

According to the heatsink industry, aluminum has beenthe primary material for interconnects on motors because of its conducting powers. But there is also a slow movement towards copper interconnects replacing thealuminum ones.  Copper is indeed a better conductor than aluminum. So, why aren’t more motor heatsinks made out of copper?  The main reasonfor aluminum to be chosen as the ideal material for the past 30 years is it is cheaperthan copper The use of aluminium for bulk mass production of heatsinkssaves cost tremendously compared to the amount one would need to make a purecopper heatsink.  Thus, aluminum is the most suitable material to be usedfor base. There are also hybrid-type heatsinks that have the best of bothworlds by combining the two, e.g. the base the motor is made out of aluminium,and the rest of the heatsink is made of copper.


Most manufacturers today use sophisticatedmachining tools and equipment to perform high-speed, ultraprecise machining, manufacturing, and processing for the motor industry with anemphasis on heat sinks and other thermal products. They are equipped to havethe capabilities to produce complex components and assemblies. With such cuttingedge technology, mass production of motor heatsinks is easily achieved withreduced cost, production and assembly time.

The key to delivering quality heatsinkproducts is having the right machine to produce the right part for the rightfeature. This may require a number of secondary operations on the heatsink parts,such as the grooving portion (discussed in later sections). The final objectiveis to be able to produce a quality heatsink part in high volumes

To properly manufacture a fabricatedcomponent like heat sink, it takes more than just equipment. Even though theCNC’s, lathes, deburring, stamping, punching and inspection equipment can performmost of the bulk of the work, it is important to know what other processes areavailable to perform a machining task. This knowledge base of information willbe discussed in the following sections so that the best and most cost effectiveheatsink part can be manufactured. The following are operation/machine toolsrequired to produce a heatsink base:

  • Cuttoff tools such as slitting saws, saws, cold saws,bandsaws or abrasive cutoff saws.
  • Micro-slicing tools such as tension blade saws and anglecutters.
  • Turning machines for heatsink part formation, groovingoperations.
  • CNC machining using tool punch and hydraulic bender.
  • Grinding machine for grinding and finishing operations.
  • Drilling machine to drill motor hole through heatsink.

The mostsuitable shock absorbing material is a mounting pad made of plastic. Theheatsink normally do not attach to the pad. The motor is actually attached to aplastic housing, which is then attached to the pad. The pad with housing shouldbe is designed such a way as not to restrict airflow to and from the motor andto heatsink. The plastic casing should resemble the size and shape of motorgiving it a maximum allowance of +/- 3mm.


The item is motor heatsink and the portion of theheatsink to be machined is the grooving part which is produced on a machineassembly line. An acceptable number of machines, tooling requirements andoperation are assumed as tabulated in Tables 1-1 below.

Stages Operation (for one set) Machine or process No. of M/Cs or tool sets required
A CNC punch inner and outer base plates for heatsink CNC punch 1
B Remove metal components from punched sheet and deburr Grinding and finishing equipment 1
C Bend all metal sections required for 1 heatsink case CNC Hydraulic bender 1
D Drilling of hole for motor intrusion Drilling m/c with drill bit size 35 dia and counterbore26.25 dia 1
E Cutting of grooves along heatsink plate case Turning m/c with abrasive cutoff saws 1

Fig. 1-2 shows the machine sequence and layout ofthe entire machining operation of heatsink and grooves. This sequence is therepresentation of the machine layout per machining line and is referenced tothe Table 1-1.


Table 1-3 shows the complete manufacturing formotor, heatsink and base mounting pad. It also shows the assembling of thefinished and supplied components to form the complete artefact. The number ofmachines required for each stage to assemble one complete artefact is drawn outThe table 3 below shows the figures for such a production output of 2 cases perline per day.

Stages Operation (for one set) Machine or process No. of M/Cs, tool sets or stationsrequired
A CNC punch inner and outer base plates for heatsink CNC punch 1
B Remove metal components from punched sheet and deburr Grinding and finishing equipment 1
C Bend all metal sections required for 1 heatsink case CNC Hydraulic bender 1
D Drilling of hole for motor intrusion Drilling m/c with drill bit size 35 dia and counterbore26.25 dia 1
E Cutting of grooves along heatsink plate case Turning m/c with abrasive cutoff saws 1
F Inspection of motor – fully assembled from sub-contractor Motor test rig and magnifying glass for visual inspection 1
G Assemble of all components Basic hand tools or robots 1
H Insert motor and heatsink into position Basic hand tools or robots 1
I Inspection of assembled artefact part Magnifying glass only 1
J Pack into boxes and onto pallet Boxes, tape, pallets and shrink wrap

The above table indicates that stages A-Ecomprises of the machining operations for heatsink. Stages F-J are the manualassembly operations of the motor, heatsink and mounting pad. The motor isassumed to be fully assembled and are bought from a third-party sub-contractor.Quality inspections are also done for the motor and after assembly at this stage.The assembly of finished components can be done either by a manual worker or byhighly sophisticated robots such as the articulated robotic arms found in mostmanufacturing companies

Production Cell Manufacturing Layout

A diagrammatic plan representation of the manufacturing(production) layout is produced as illustrated in Fig. 1-4. There are 3production lines instead of 1 to facilitate quicker outputs and meet the dailyproduction targets that would satisfy production and company profits. This isbased on the production sequences collected and tabulated on Table 1-3. The productioncell layout includes:

  • 3 manual or robot articulated assembly cells
  • 5 manual or robot assembly stations for each assembly cell
  • 3 sections of parts storage for each line dedicated to the machiningprocess lines
  • Each machining process line for heatsink consist of 5 stations
  • A total of 3 lines each for both the machining process andassembly
  • An holding area for vendor storage to store surplus incomingparts such as motors and accessories from vendors and suppliers
  • A defective area for holding Quality flagged cases
  • 10′ by 10′ staging area for pallets with wrapped fully assembledand tested motor heatsinks


The diagram clearly shows the dashed lines with arrowsindicating the flow of process (or production route) from each cell. Thestages from ‘A’ to ‘J’ signifies what is happening at each point of process andassembly. There are 2 two-way conveyer belts between the each of the threeassembly and inspection lines. The production floor has sufficient exit pointsto provide smooth flow of materials, visitors and workers at all times. Formore details of the specific operations for each stage can be referred toTables 1-3.



VAI system 2000’smanufacturing applications provides the need to control all aspects of flexiblemanufacturing business. System 2000 covers work orders, material processing,production scheduling, material costing, shop floor control and job tracking.The flexibility of software application offers an exact fit for anymanufacturing environment.

Flexible manufacturingorders can be produced as per make to order or stock and they can be entered asplanned manufacturing orders. Make to order direct material transactions can beentered directly through the sales order entry process where an order can bepersonalized to the customer’s exact requirements. Using the productconfigurator, the desired order can be customized using the many features andoptions.

The System2000 orders process allows the user to create work orders forfinished assembly or sub-assembly items for make to stock transactions.With its unlimited bills of material level, each work created order willdisplay the subassemblies, components and item availability. When there is ashortage of components, System 2000 will automatically suggest immediate purchaseorders where necessary The flexible manufacturing order will print the routingoperations, number and type of components required, as well as any other necessaryinstructions. The production scheduling system will immediately alert the manufacturingcrew (user) to over scheduling orders and produce the relevant graphs,displays, and reports. The user can view the schedule according to department,work center, and/or machine. The user may also choose to include demand fromfirm orders, quotes, and pre-planned manufacturing orders. There are a varietyof inquiries displaying the status of the work order, open, pending andcompleted operations, together with the complete production  history whichincludes actual against standard cost analysis. Data collection for shop floor isalso fully supported. In relation to the material issues and labor times, theSystem 2000 easily calculates the actual cost and close the work order.

System 2000’s FlexibleManufacturing Module also provides for Material Requirements  Planning (MRP). The MRP system istightly combined with the Customer Orders, Inventory, Sales Analysis(Forecasting), Purchasing, and Manufacturing  modules of System 2000, andis sensitive to company and location (plant)  specific criteria.

MRP analyzes theexisting on-hand position of an item, open purchase orders, open manufacturingorders (including planned, stock,  and custom orders), open commitments(open customer orders, future orders, and  standing orders), the salesforecast, and then produces a balance.

This analysiscan be viewed on-line daily, weekly, or  monthly by selecting theappropriate option. Complete pegging is supported  allowing the user toview critical data such as when purchase orders are due, when manufacturingorders are due to be completed, and the actual customer  orders making upthe commitments of an item.

Combining ourpowerful customer service, inventory management, purchasing, and financialapplications with System 2000’s  manufacturing capabilities creates theelements for success in any discrete or process manufacturing environment.


  • Planned Order Entry
  • Alternate Routing Options
  • Material Requirements Planning (MRP)
  • User Defined Reporting
  • Serial Number Tracking
  • Department/Work Center/MachineScheduling
  • Hard/Soft/Planned Demand
  • Multi Plant
  • Bill Of Materials Effectivity Dates
  • Outside Operation Grouping
  • Unlimited Level Bill Of Materials
  • Price/Quantity Explosion
  • Component Availability
  • Time Line Item Availability
  • Full-Screen Editing
  • Real Time Updating
  • Master Production Schedule
  • Production Scheduling
  • Manufacturing Routing
  • Automatic Work Order Creation FromSales  Orders
  • Bill Of Material Edit At Sales OrderAnd Work Order Entry
  • Suggested Purchase Order ForComponents
  • Component Usage Inquiry
  • Component And Labor Costing
  • Actual Or Standard Labor Costing
  • Work In Process Tracking
  • Production Inquiry Analysis
  • Suggested Work Order Creation
  • Historical Analysis
  • Routing Operations And Bill OfMaterial Can Be Modified For Special Order
  • Work Orders Linked To Sales Orders
  • Employee Labor Reporting
  • Outside Operations Tracking
  • Lot Control/Tracking
  • Shop Floor Control
  • Scrap Entry & Analysis
  • Machine Efficiency Analysis
  • Tool Tracking
  • Substitute Items
  • Component Where Used Inquiry
  • Costed Bill Of Material Inquiry
  • Work Load Analysis
  • Shop Floor Data Collection
  • Material Requirements Reporting
  • Transaction Analysis
  • Cost Comparison Inquiry
  • Cost Comparison Reports

*The abovetable is courtesy of Vormittag Associates Inc.


A methodology fordesign of manufacture has been developed above for the fabricating of amechanical component such as the motor/heatsink using various machiningmethods. The mass production of the motor and heatsink are represented with alogical diagrammatic layout of a suitable production cell plant. This plantwill be able to satisfy all the manufacturing requirements and operation for365 production days per year. All the use of this design andmanufacturing skills has achieved the overall understanding of the concepts ofdesign for manufacture and flexible manufacturing systems.


The discussion on the flexiblemanufacturing software 2000 system by Vormittag Associates Inc. is seen as animportant tool for quick and easy improvement of any design for manufactureprocesses. It posses a design challenge for any heatsink manufacturers toimplement an efficient fully integrated system for material tracking, inventorychecking, bill of material monitoring, material cost control, assembly run-outtime, flow of materials to and from the production floor and lines, etc. Thissystem could save plenty of costs and reduce waste, hence, increases thematerial performance and the overall product infrastructure. The implementationof System 2000 for manufacturing into the company work flow would help totremendously reduce the overall parts count and the logistics of assemblyoptimised to minimise cost, reduce complexity and maximise productivity.


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