flexible cell manufacturing as an alternative to the classic line

Flexible Cell Production

Flexible Cell Production as an Alternative to the Classic Line

Say goodbye to line downtime, waiting employees and wasted resources

Shorter innovation cycles, increasing product variants and individualization- sound familiar? The ever-changing demands for products are a challenge for many factories and their assembly. The finely tuned processes of the classic assembly line cannot be divided or expanded to fit these changing needs.

However, if you were to assemble in flexible cells, you could implement changes more quickly and efficiently!

Flexible cell : How does it work? 

The special thing about flexible cell production is that production does not take place in a line, but rather in individual cells. Each cell can be controlled individually using the flexCell algorithm. Each order receives an individual order route and is not bound to a fixed station sequence. The algorithm calculates the optimal allocation of the cells and assigns the appropriate assembly orders. The material supply is then controlled by means of goods baskets on driverless transport systems (AGVs). Cells not relevant for the product are simply skipped by the AGVs. The FiFo principle is levered out!

Thinking in cells? Clearly advantageous! 

Discover the advantages of manufacturing in flexible cells:

  • The product range can be expanded as required

    Since cells can be added or changed individually and AGVs can be easily added, the product range can be expanded as required and it is possible to quickly react to volume fluctuations.

  • No more complete line downtime

    Since only the respective cell is affected by adjustments or technical defects, a complete line downtime is a thing of the past. The flexCell algorithm simulates the changed occupancy of the cells at the push of a button and triggers the diversion of the AGV to other cells.

  • No more cycle sequence loss times

    The logistics is timed in such a way that the product waits for the assembly worker and not the worker for the product. Lost cycle times are almost completely eliminated. To be more precise, there is no longer a classic “cycle”.

  • Integration of different products in one assembly system

    Due to the flexible arrangement of the cells, different products (e.g. electric motor and combustion engine) can be assembled simultaneously.

Flexible assembly: More a pipe dream than reality? Not anymore!

Flexible cell production is a long overdue alternative to in-line assembly not only in theory but also in practice. In a study with the Boston Consulting Group, flexible cell production was simulated with real data in ipolog and compared with assembly in the classic line. With surprising results:

Our calculations with real data show that assembly in flexible cells and the use of AGVs - in comparison to the classic line - can increase worker utilization by 12 percent! Labor costs are reduced by a similar percentage. Many details were published in the study "Will Flexible-Cell Manufacturing Revolutionize Car Making?”

A stylized diagram from the Boston Consulting Group explaining the key features of flexible cell manufacturing


Flexible cell production is more than just a theoretical concept. It has potential! The whitepaper published as part of the Boston Consulting Group's study uses hard facts to show that rethinking can be worthwhile.


Whitepaper: Flexible Cell Production

Flexible assembly at the push of a button? Feasible with software support!

Planning flexible cells manually is hardly possible due to the complexity. The digitalization of assembly and logistics is the first step towards planning and controlling more complex assembly processes. The basis for a realistic simulation is the digital twin of assembly and logistics. The core of flexible cell production is the flexCell algorithm. By integrating the algorithm into our planning tool ipolog, flexible cell production can be simulated and the necessary logistics processes can be planned and controlled. Important parameters can be changed directly in the tool and planning is adjusted at the push of a button. 3D models support the identification of bottlenecks and simplify the visualization of processes.

Take the first step towards flexible cell production! We’d love to be your guide.

Talk to us about your project without obligation. We are eager to simulate flexible cell production with you.

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Your Contact

ipolog contact - Matthias Kellermann

Matthias Kellermann

Phone: +49.7152.70010.77
Email: matthias.kellermann@ipolog.ai

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