Manufacturing Control Systems Capable of Managing Production Change and Disturbances
Change and disturbance handling is a major concern for manufacturing systems today. Market demand and environmental/societal pressures require effective manufacturing systems to adapt themselves at an ever-increasing pace. This creates the need for novel manufacturing control systems that are able to manage production change and disturbance both effectively and efficiently. The proposed project addresses precisely this issue and aims to impact on this growing concern in industry by demonstrating a way to tackle the above problem.
Incremental development of existing manufacturing control systems appears unlikely to solve the above problem and hence more novel solutions are needed. The emerging field of autonomous cooperating agents - denoted ACAs - is seen as offering superior potential in this respect by the experts in the domain by affording a high degree of flexibility and modularity to algorithms and architectures supporting production systems. Accordingly, the overall objective of this project is to tackle and resolve the upstream research issues for the development of autonomous cooperating agent-based manufacturing control systems that are capable of handling change and disturbances.
The overall project objective translates in the following specific objectives:
The project results reflect the above specific objectives. Also, the approach mirrors the above: (1) The project first establishes what are the possibilities for having an impact; this provides a concrete and relevant goal. (2) Building on the first results, the project establishes what relevant technologies already exists and which ACA technologies need to be developed. (3) Equally building on the first results, the project establishes metrics; these are essential both for evaluation of later results and facilitating take-up of results after/during the project. The second and third activities need the focus provided by the first activity’s results. (4+5) In parallel, to permit mutual interaction, the project develops a general solution (ACA framework) and a specific solution (testbed) to the problem of handling change and disturbance.
The vendor in the consortium ensures that the approach and results of the project are suitable for further developments into commercial products. As this is an SME, this vendor will prevent the development of results requiring large enterprises to market products originating from this project. Moreover, this partner will develop a ‘business plan’ for the development of the Mascada results into commercial products.
Dissemination of the project results will benefit from the Esprit Working Groups IiMB and IMS-WG as well as the ICIMS Network of excellence. Journal/conference papers, seminars/workshops, and transfer to educational/training activities ensure dissemination. The industrial business units which cooperated in the first activity will be provided with customized feedback. Mascada will also disseminate through the WEB.
Comments for the authors: Paul Valckenaers
Page design: Paul Valckenaers