Revisiting System Paradigms from the Viewpoint of Manufacturing Sustainability
A system paradigm is an abstract representation of system; it includes system architecture used to determine the types and numbers of components and their relations in the system. The design of system paradigm relies on customers’ requirements and the characteristics of the manufacturing environment. Many system paradigms and design guidelines have been proposed for a variety of customers’ needs including functions, cost, quality, personalization, and lead time of products. However, the consideration of sustainability becomes essential to today’s manufacturing systems; a new challenge is how to evolve existing paradigms to accommodate the requirements of sustainability. In contrast to ample research activities on system paradigms in past decades, recent studies on system paradigms have been restricted, partially due to unclear research directions. Limited works can be found on conceiving new manufacturing system paradigms from the perspective of sustainability; most of the related literature concerns the new requirements of sustainability. The objectives of this work are (i) to examine the requirements of manufacturing systems in a wider scope; (ii) to revisit existing paradigms to clarify their limitations and bottlenecks; and eventually (iii) to identify some research directions, which will lead to a solution of sustainable manufacturing. To achieve these objectives, firstly, a brief description of today’s manufacturing environment is provided. Secondly, the requirements of sustainability are discussed, and the relevant researches on system sustainability are surveyed. Thirdly, the reconfigurable system paradigm is focused, and the gaps between a reconfigurable manufacturing system and a sustainable manufacturing system are discussed. Finally, the future endeavors towards to the next-generation manufacturing system paradigms are discussed.
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