How do you take the first steps toward developing a standardised modular automation solution? The SmartMachine Base (SMB) set out to achieve just this and to validate it in a manufacturing use case: the assembly of customised wireless in-ear audio headsets. This is the shared goal of technology provider and engineering company Demcon Industrial Systems Enschede B.V. (DISE) and manufacturing SME, Dopple Technologies B.V. Both are based in the Netherlands. Dopple manufactures custom-made high-end wireless audio headsets, based on 3D scans of the customer’s inner-ear canal – for maximum comfort and best fit. Combined with high-end audio and noise cancelling technology, this creates a superb product. Dopple currently uses manual, labour-based manufacturing that it wishes to automate. Due to the customised nature of Dopple’s product, the automation concept requires a great deal of flexibility. It’s the perfect proving ground for DISE to realise its long-term goal of creating a standardised and modular automation platform (SMB), which will provide less expensive, modular and flexible automation solutions for smaller companies, a powerful tool to improve Agile Manufacturing.