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December 19, 2018

Economic small batch manufacturing, high-mix-low-volume, Events, Agile Manufacturing

Agile Manufacturing – How to produce a lot size of one economically?

Our CEO, Tomas Hedenborg, gave a presentation last September in IMTS (International Manufacturing Technology Show) which is the Americas’ Largest Manufacturing Show. His topic was “Agile Manufacturing – How to produce a lot size of one economically?” Here is a short summary for you to start with, but feel free to also watch the full presentation on video. 

Naturally, the short answer to the main question is “rely on the automation of Fastems.” However, Tomas shares a bit more about the facts behind that promise. Complexity in production grows rapidly and Fastems claims that the challenges can be tackled with increasing the level of automation and digitalization. This requires AMS, agile manufacturing systems, which Tomas explains through six case examples such as Fastems’ Robotic Finishing Cell, RoboFMS and fully integrated heavy duty automation. These cases answer to the burning question on how lot size one production is possible in a productive and efficient way? Find the examples from the video starting from 27:44.

Agile manufacturing requires a digital transformation of companies, organizations and the industry – and it is inevitable. According to Tomas, the digital and agile transformation is a combination of leadership, technology, business models, culture, performance management which drive companies forward.

Maturity of Digitalization

For those of you who are interested in global industry trends, Tomas shows an interesting table of “Maturity of digitalization” in different sectors where manufacturing is sadly located in the bottom three. In fact, only the public sector and the construction are under manufacturing. He continues explaining how work hours around the globe could be automated. The automation potential of the work hours in different continents vary between 47% and 56%. The demographic and business case (savings) are the key drivers towards automation.

Tomas says that the nature of innovation in the digital era is disruptive. He presents an example in the form of a quiz: what is common with Uber (peer-to-peer ride sharing), smart phones and Oral B (electronic tooth brushes)? Do you know the answer? Hear the answer from the video starting from 21:49, and learn how you can use the insight in your work.


Other questions and topics that are covered in the presentation and video:

  • What is the biggest automation market in the future? 11:38
  • Four waves of digitalization (operational efficiency, new products & services, outcome economy, autonomous pull economy) & Fastems’ situation 13:55
  • The company culture as a driver of digitalization and growth – how Fastems did it 15:40


The duration of the presentation is 50 minutes and it is in English. You are welcomed to watch the whole presentation and feel free to share it with your friends and colleagues.


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