Postprint version. Published in Journal of Manufacturing Technology Management, Volume 20, Issue 1, January 1, 2009, pages 130-142.
The definitive version is available at https://doi.org/10.1108/17410380910925442.
Purpose –Multitasking machining (MTM) systems have become increasingly sophisticated and expensive capital equipment. The lack of practical guidelines for selection of these machines can lead to significant undesirable machine attributes, application mismatch, and longer return on investment. The purpose of this paper is to provide an insight to numerous features and configurations of MTM systems and to present several application-based selection guidelines.
Design/methodology/approach –A taxonomy of MTM systems is developed based on the number of axes of motions, tooling and spindle systems. Practical guidelines for general and advance features are presented with special regard to multi-axis and multi-spindle features.
Findings –MTM systems are capable of meeting several production goals such as cycle time reduction, minimizing non-value added times and concurrent processing of multiple parts. However, they possess inherent programming challenges due to their complex configuration and simultaneous machining functions.
Research limitations/implications –The diversity of system configurations demand a decision support system, such as a rule-based expert system to capture the many variations of MTM systems.
Originality/value – This paper should be useful to decision makers in industry or academia who are involved in selection of MTM systems.