Abstract: Flexible automatic assembly is an emerging need in several industries in the developed countries,
owing to the growing market request of small batch productions.
This paper introduces a new class of flexible assembly systems, that we define as fully-flexible assembly systems (F-FAS), and addresses the problem of comparing their direct production costs to that of a generic flexible robotized work cell, whose reconfiguration for batch change requires time.
Conversely, the F-FAS is a fully-flexible system, able to handle a highly mixed
production order in which the size of the batch may be as small as one piece.
Convenience analysis revealed that the F-FAS becomes more convenient in certain conditions,
especially with complex assemblies and small batch sizes. First experimental data are presented to
demonstrate the viability of the fully-flexible system.