flexible cell manufacturing as an alternative to the classic line

Flexible Cell Production

Flexible Cell Manufacturing as an Alternative to the Classic Assembly 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 quickly and efficiently!

Flexible cell manufacturing: How does it work? 

The special thing about flexible cell manufacturing 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 containers on automated guided vehicle (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 cell assembly: More a pipe dream than reality? Not anymore!

Flexible cell manufacturing is a long overdue alternative to the assembly line not only in theory but also in practice. In a study with the Boston Consulting Group, flexible cell manufacturing 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 manufacturing 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 Manufacturing

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 manufacturing is the flexCell algorithm. By integrating the algorithm into our ipolog software, flexible cell manufacturing can be simulated and the necessary logistics processes can be planned and controlled. Important parameters can be changed directly in the software tool and planning is adjusted at the push of a button. The 3D models help identify bottlenecks and simplify process visualization.

Want to experience what flexible cell manufacturing looks like in concrete terms? Then watch our free webinar with flexCell examples in our ipolog software.

"Flexible Cells: Break Up Your Rigid Assembly System!"

Watch Flexible Cell Webinar

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

In five simple steps, we examine what flexible cell manufacturing can bring to your factory.
  • 1. First Analysis

    Recording of the current state (typically line)

  • 2. Building the digital twin

    Building a digital model for flexible cell manufacturing

  • 3. First fundamental planning

    Planning of processes in the digital model

  • 4. Comparison

    Comparison between line and flexible cell manufacturing through simulations with ipolog

  • 5. Planning of next steps

    Deduction of next steps based on the results generated in ipolog

Talk to us about your project without obligation. We can’t wait to show you what a difference flexible cell manufacturing can make!

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Flexible Cell Production Webinar

A digitalized tractor assembly line is shown during a free webinar from ipolog

Flexible Cells: Break Up Your Rigid Assembly System!

Individualization, increasing complexity, batch size 1! These are topics that many companies are currently dealing with. Flexible cell production can be an answer to these questions. In this webinar we will show you a simulation of flexible cells based on real data.