Quality control of an unreliable flexible manufacturing system with scrapping and infinite buffer capacity

Lie Fern Hsu, Charles S. Tapiero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Manufacturing multiple part types on a flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is increasingly becoming a rule rather than an exception. In such systems, attention has been drawn to the application of zero-defect technologies. However, in practice, this goal has remained elusive and costly. As a result, even though FMSs may be more reliable, producing fewer defective parts, system complexity and more stringent quality standards are rendering quality control in FMSs potentially useful. The goals of this article are threefold. First, we introduce a procedure for measuring and managing the in-process quality control of an FMS, which is described by an Open Queueing Network (OQN), bridging thereby a gap between queueing theory and quality control. Second, by focusing attention on the potential unreliabilities of FMSs, we provide some managerial insights regarding the role, position, and distribution of the quality control effort in an FMS. Finally, we stress the intricate relations between an FMS's operating characteristics and the manufactured quality and its control. Using numerical analyses, we draw some inferences regarding the design of such FMSs when both quality and quantity issues in the FMSs are considered. These simultaneous considerations of quantity and quality flows in an FMS have not been previously considered in the study of FMSs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)325-346
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Flexible Manufacturing Systems
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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