A methodology for design and reconfiguration of reconfigurable bending press machines (RBPMs)

Norman Gwangwava, Khumbulani Mpofu, Nkgatho Tlale, Yan Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Customer requirements have become very dynamic and unprecedented. A manufacturing paradigm called reconfigurable manufacturing system was initiated to adjust the physical machine entities. The main enabler of a machine structures reconfigurability is a modular design approach. The paper explains a function-driven object-oriented methodology for the design and reconfiguration of RBPMs. The complete method aims to optimise initial design of RBPMs, followed by subsequent design of RPBM modules which are stored in a module library so as to enable full-automatic reconfiguration of the RBPMs. The methodology is implemented on a pilot project to design a 145 ton bending capacity RBPM, with a maximum reconfigured length of 5 m and total height of 3 m. In order to deduce the design for the reconfigurable bending press machine, the reconfigurability needs were identified first, followed by the construction of a function tree for the machine. The function tree identifies the primary function for the RBPM, which is to bend sheet metal. The primary function is further decomposed to lower level functions until terminal functions are arrived at. The terminal functions are then used to identify the modules for the machine. The modules implement specific brunches of the machine functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6019-6032
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Production Research
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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