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Article
Publication date: 18 April 2008

D. Semere, M. Onori, A. Maffei and R. Adamietz

The main features of evolvable systems include distributed control, a modularized, intelligent and open architecture, a comprehensive and multi‐dimensional methodological…

Abstract

Purpose

The main features of evolvable systems include distributed control, a modularized, intelligent and open architecture, a comprehensive and multi‐dimensional methodological support that comprises the reference architecture. Furthermore, integration of legacy subsystems and modules has been addressed in the methodology. This paper aims to present the latest developments, applications and conclusions drawn to date.

Design/methodology/approach

Evolvable assembly system is a new methodology in itself, and is currently being applied within several European projects. Evolvable assembly goes beyond reconfigurability and offers continuous evolution of the system.

Findings

The work has been, and is being, implemented through large European research projects. Evolvability, being a system concept, is envisaged addressing every aspect of an assembly system throughout its life cycle, i.e. design and development, operation and evolution.

Research limitations/implications

This paper presents the latest developments, applications and conclusions drawn to date.

Originality/value

The paper presents the methodology and the latest application of it, which is industrial. This is the first application that offers self‐configuration of the equipment.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 28 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 5 April 2013

D.T. Matt

The purpose of this paper is to develop and test a design approach based on the investigation of the sensitivity of assembly systems to volume fluctuations as part of the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to develop and test a design approach based on the investigation of the sensitivity of assembly systems to volume fluctuations as part of the selection process of alternative design solutions for scalable assembly systems on the basis of a real industrial case study.

Design/methodology/approach

A conceptual approach for the (re‐)design of a scalable assembly system is developed on the basis of an industrial case research using axiomatic design (AD) for the top level structuring of the framework incorporating useful methods and insights obtained from a thorough literature review and from previous research work.

Findings

The findings of this research are limited due to the focused nature of a case study based research. However, the obtained results encourage assuming its transferability to similar problems.

Originality/value

Significant research has been done in the design of assembly systems for high product variety, but the review of literature in this field still identifies many opportunities for future research. This paper responds to the clearly identified research need of a methodological guidance regarding the design of scalable assembly systems and offers a practically proven help to improve the efficiency of the design process and the quality of the design results.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 33 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 15 February 2013

Giulio Rosati, Maurizio Faccio, Andrea Carli and Aldo Rossi

Flexible automated assembly is an emerging need in several industries. The purpose of this paper is to address the introduction of an innovative concept in flexible…

Abstract

Purpose

Flexible automated assembly is an emerging need in several industries. The purpose of this paper is to address the introduction of an innovative concept in flexible assembly: the fully flexible assembly system (F‐FAS).

Design/methodology/approach

After an analysis of the state of the art, the authors describe the proposed F‐FAS, from a layout, constitutional elements, functioning principles and working cycle point of view. Second, the authors compare the traditional FAS and the manual assembly system versus the proposed F‐FAS according to their throughput and unit production costs, deriving a convenience map as a function of the number of components used in assembly and of the efficiency of the F‐FAS. Finally, using a prototype work cell developed at the Robotics Laboratory of University of Padua, the authors validate the F‐FAS concept.

Findings

Results of the research indicate that the concept of full‐flexibility can be exploited to bring automation to a domain where traditional FAS are not competitive versus manual assembly. In fact, the F‐FAS outperforms both traditional FAS and manual assembly, in terms of unit direct production costs, when the size of the batch is small, the number of components used in assembly is large and the efficiency of the F‐FAS is reasonably high. The F‐FAS prototype demonstrated the possibility of working, for certain conditions (models/components/production mix), in the F‐FAS convenience area, highlighting the achievable cost reduction versus traditional assembly systems.

Originality/value

The novelty of the study lies in the F‐FAS concept, its performances in terms of flexibility, compactness, throughput and unit direct production costs. A prototype work cell validated the concept and demonstrated its viability versus traditional assembly systems, thanks to convenience analysis.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 33 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 26 July 2013

Hakan Akillioglu, Joao Ferreira and Mauro Onori

Evolvable production systems enable fully reconfiguration capabilities on the shop floor through process‐oriented modularity and multi‐agent‐based distributed control. To…

Abstract

Purpose

Evolvable production systems enable fully reconfiguration capabilities on the shop floor through process‐oriented modularity and multi‐agent‐based distributed control. To be able to benefit architectural and operational characteristics of evolvable systems, there is a need of a new planning approach which links shop floor characteristics and planning operations. This paper seeks to address these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

Evolvable production system has a structured methodology in itself. Consistent to this, a reference planning architecture is developed aiming to achieve agility on planning activities. Besides a workload control method is proposed and implemented as a part of the planning architecture.

Findings

First applications of evolvable systems have been implemented through European research projects. Shop floor working principles and architectural characteristics are consistent to facilitate more agility on planning activities which are framed at a planning reference architecture called demand responsive planning. As an implementation case, an agent‐based workload control method is proposed and implemented. The characteristics of EPS and proposed planning architecture enable continuous and dynamic workload control of the shop floor to be implemented.

Originality/value

This paper presents a new planning model compatible with evolvable production systems targeting to agility to demand on planning and control activities benefiting shop floor enhancements of a fully reconfigurable system which enables to relax constraints imposed from production systems to planning. In addition, a continuous and dynamic workload control method is proposed and implemented.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 33 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 23 February 2010

Mauro Onori and José Barata Oliveira

This roadmap is primarily concerned with the adaptive assembly technology situation in Europe, a topic of particular interest as assembly is often the final process within…

Abstract

Purpose

This roadmap is primarily concerned with the adaptive assembly technology situation in Europe, a topic of particular interest as assembly is often the final process within manufacturing operations. Being the final set of operations on the product, and being traditionally labour‐intensive, assembly has been considerably affected by globalisation. Therefore, unlike most technology roadmaps, this report will not focus solely on particular technologies, but will strive to form a broader perspective on the conditions that may come to influence the opportunities, including political aspects and scientific paradigms. The purpose of this paper is to convey a complete view of the global mechanisms that may come to affect technological breakthroughs, and also present strategies that may better prepare for such a forecast.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper describes a technological roadmap.

Findings

This paper provides a complete overview of all aspects that may come to affect assembly in Europe within the next 20 years.

Originality/value

The paper gives an original Evolvable Ultra Precision Assembly Systems FP6 project result which will be of general interest for strategic R&D.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 30 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 6 April 2012

Mauro Onori, Niels Lohse, Jose Barata and Christoph Hanisch

Current major roadmapping efforts have all clearly underlined that true industrial sustainability will require far higher levels of systems' autonomy and adaptability. In…

Abstract

Purpose

Current major roadmapping efforts have all clearly underlined that true industrial sustainability will require far higher levels of systems' autonomy and adaptability. In accordance with these recommendations, the Evolvable Assembly Systems (EAS) has aimed at developing such technological solutions and support mechanisms. Since its inception in 2002 as a next generation of production systems, the concept is being further developed and tested to emerge as a production system paradigm. The essence of evolvability resides not only in the ability of system components to adapt to the changing conditions of operation, but also to assist in the evolution of these components in time. Characteristically, Evolvable systems have distributed control, and are composed of intelligent modules with embedded control. To assist the development and life cycle, a methodological framework is being developed. After validating the process‐oriented approach (EC FP6 EUPASS project), EAS now tackles its current major challenge (FP7 IDEAS project) in proving that factory responsiveness can be improved using lighter multi‐agent technology running on EAS modules (modules with embedded control). The purpose of this paper is to detail the particular developments within the IDEAS project, which include the first self re‐configuring system demonstration and a new mechatronic architecture.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper covers the development of a plug & produce system for FESTO AG. The work covers the background methodology and details its constituents: control system, architecture, design methodology, and modularity. Specific detail is reserved for the configuration approach which integrates several tools, and the commercially available control boards. The latter have been specifically developed for distributed control applications.

Findings

The paper details probably the first self‐configuring assembly system at shop‐floor level. This is one of the very first industrial plug & produce systems, in which equipment may be added/removed with no programming effort at all.

Research limitations/implications

The paper reports the findings and development carried out within the framework of a single project. It also clarifies that the solution is not a general panacea for all the issues within assembly.

Practical implications

The implications are quite large as the work proves the validity of an approach that could change our way of designing and building assembly systems. In the words of an industrial partner, this is “a new way of engineering assembly systems”.

Social implications

Should this approach be used in industry then the implications could be huge. It would, for example, mean that new services are created, whereby assembly system modules are leased to users through a network of depots, rather than bought at a high cost. The system modules also have a far longer lifespan, implying very good ecological solutions.

Originality/value

The highly original paper describes what is probably one of the very first projects to show that distributed control at shop‐floor level is viable and technologically feasible.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 32 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2015

Sakura Kasai, Nan Li and Dongping Fang

City is an artificial dynamic open giant complex system, whose multifunctional and interdisciplinary characteristics leads to significant complexity. While challenges…

Abstract

Purpose

City is an artificial dynamic open giant complex system, whose multifunctional and interdisciplinary characteristics leads to significant complexity. While challenges arising from individual urban functions have been the focus of urban studies, major urban challenges such as traffic congestion and inefficiency of resource usages may originate from the “interface” where different urban functions interact. Previous research has revealed the potential that regarding city as a system-of-systems (SoS) may shed light on solutions to various urban challenges. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

To examine this research potential, this paper begins with an overview of challenges in urbanization and current approaches which lack systematic solutions. The idea of applying SoS approach is then inspired by existing studies on urban metabolism where city is regarded as an entire system. This idea is followed by definition and characteristics of SoS, as well as comprehensive overview of the state of the art on SoS-based solutions to urban challenges. This paper then discusses the merits and limitations of current studies on SoS for urbanization, followed by a case study which precedes research visions.

Findings

The paper finds that regarding city as SoS is a potentially effective approach for urban studies. This is highlighted by original research visions on how to advance this line of research. These research visions point out a few ideas for future research. It particularly highlights the role of human and information in the establishment, management and evolution of various urban functions.

Originality/value

The originality of this paper lies in the use of the conception of “SoS” to emphasize the importance of properly modeling human and information in an urban system so as to better reveal the intra-SoS mechanism.

Details

Smart and Sustainable Built Environment, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-6099

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 2003

Abdalla Hagen, Semere Haile and Ahmad Maghrabi

This study investigated the impact of the type of strategy on the type of environmental scanning activity of Egyptian CEOs at Egyptian banks. Results indicated that CEOs…

Abstract

This study investigated the impact of the type of strategy on the type of environmental scanning activity of Egyptian CEOs at Egyptian banks. Results indicated that CEOs with a cost‐leadership strategy were involved in environmental scanning activities that provide information concerning threats. Their counterparts with a differentiation strategy were involved in environmental scanning activities that provide information concerning opportunities.

Details

International Journal of Commerce and Management, vol. 13 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1056-9219

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Article
Publication date: 1 March 1967

The Scottish Branch Annual General Meeting and Conference will be held in the Hume Tower, University of Edinburgh, George Square, on Friday 31st March 1967, from 10 a.m…

Abstract

The Scottish Branch Annual General Meeting and Conference will be held in the Hume Tower, University of Edinburgh, George Square, on Friday 31st March 1967, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. During the morning session Mr F.N. Hogg, DPA, FLA, Principal, School of Librarianship, Aberystwyth, and Mr W.E. Tyler, FLA, Director, Department of Librarianship, University of Strathclyde, will speak on aspects of library education.

Details

Aslib Proceedings, vol. 19 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0001-253X

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Article
Publication date: 1 December 2004

A.M. Okamura

Teleoperated minimally invasive surgical robots can significantly enhance a surgeon's accuracy, dexterity and visualization. However, current commercially available…

Abstract

Teleoperated minimally invasive surgical robots can significantly enhance a surgeon's accuracy, dexterity and visualization. However, current commercially available systems do not include significant haptic (force and tactile) feedback to the operator. This paper describes experiments to characterize this problem, as well as several methods to provide haptic feedback in order to improve surgeon's performance. There exist a variety of sensing and control methods that enable haptic feedback, although a number of practical considerations, e.g. cost, complexity and biocompatibility, present significant challenges. The ability of teleoperated robot‐assisted surgical systems to measure and display haptic information leads to a number of additional exciting clinical and scientific opportunities, such as active operator assistance through “virtual fixtures” and the automatic acquisition of tissue properties.

Details

Industrial Robot: An International Journal, vol. 31 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-991X

Keywords

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