This is a post by Emma Rudeck on the Concurrent Engineering Site.
Right from the start of the process, the proverbial drawing board, there are real design challenges involved in creating large assembly lines. This can be for several reasons. Often the customer will not know exactly what they want their automated assembly line to do, so this inevitably impacts on the design process. On top of this, there can also be changes made to the underlying product, which mean the design of the assembly needs to be altered.
Unfortunately, starting the design process can’t usually wait until the underlying product is finalised. That’s why designers working in this area have to look for innovative ways to work around the challenges.