Abstract: Automation can be a valid way to reduce production costs. Considering medium/low volumes and a wide set of different models, a mixed model assembly work cell is a proper automated production system. The authors have recently introduced a new class of flexible assembly systems (FAS), the F-FAS, in which highly flexible feeding systems are used to improve the flexibility and reduce the set-up times at batch change. Such systems, guaranteeing a higher level of flexibility than traditional automated FAS, show some limitations in terms of productivity, due to the
stochastic process of feeding and reorientation of parts and to the time spent for image acquisition and processing. The aim of this paper is to introduce an innovative automated assembly work cell, called the hybrid flexible assembly system (H-FAS), that merges the traditional FAS bowl feeder utilisation with the innovative F-FAS feeding concepts. The
paper analyses the main factors influencing the H-FAS design, productivity and cost. Moreover, through a comparative analysis between the different single cell assembly systems, it defines the working conditions in which they can be preferable.