Applied research solutions have difficulty transitioning to the factory floor. Testing and refining in a real production environment may necessitate stopping an assembly line or waiting for a pause in work. The Clemson Vehicle Assembly Center gives researchers an alternative: their own multi-station full-scale vehicle assembly line with supporting subassembly, joining, and parts manufacturing cells. This not only allows investigators to experiment without the pressure of an actual factory floor, but imparts additional degrees of control and latitude not otherwise available:
- Controllable lighting and background noise to test effects of external conditions on performance
- Ability to measure “workers” in the factory without violating data or personal privacy
- Ability to stop production at any point in time for measurement, discussion, and learning
- Stressing the system to failure without cost consequence in order to study extreme or suboptimal conditions
Overall, a much higher degree of control and the ability to push the system beyond its limits without cost consequence opens a new set of possibilities for validating manufacturing process ideas and prototypes across a wide range of conditions.