Manufactures are adopting Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMS) to better cope with frequently changing market conditions, which place tremendous demands on a system’s flexibility as well as its cost-effectiveness. Considerable efforts have been devoted to the development of necessary tools for the system level design and performance improvement, resulting in approaches to designing a single RMS. In this paper, a methodology for cost-effective reconfiguration planning for multi-module-multi-product RMS’s that best reflect the market demand changes is proposed. Formulated as an optimization procedure, reconfiguration planning is defined as the best reallocation of part families to production modules in an RMS and the best rebalancing of the whole system and each individual module to achieve minimum related cost and simultaneously satisfy the market demand. A Genetic Algorithm (GA) approach is proposed to overcome the computational difficulties caused by the problem complexity. Effectiveness of the proposed methodology is demonstrated with a case study.

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