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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

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2008

Christoph Hanisch and Gebhard Munz

The purpose of this paper is to look at production and the installation of production lines, and question how to reduce investment for installation and how to organize the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to look at production and the installation of production lines, and question how to reduce investment for installation and how to organize the structure of such a line in order to use and reuse it for as many different or new types of products as possible.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper looks at some basic technological interdependencies.

Findings

The paper finds that the know‐how, the long‐term capabilities and creativity make man a very important asset in terms of economical factory operation. Evolvable production systems may in the near future turn out to be the bridging link between what one might call “the cost‐driven operation reducing the workforce” and an answer to how factory operation could be sustainable for a society and be highly profitable at the same time.

Originality/value

Evolvable assembly systems are a technological task requiring profound theoretical research and solutions. The paper is of value in listing some requirements for evolvable systems.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 28 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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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

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Article
Publication date: 5 September 2016

Pedro Neves, Luis Ribeiro, João Dias-Ferreira, Mauro Onori and José Barata Oliveira

This paper aims to provide a method and decision support tool to enhance swift reconfiguration of Plug&Produce (P&P) systems in the presence of continuously changing…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a method and decision support tool to enhance swift reconfiguration of Plug&Produce (P&P) systems in the presence of continuously changing production orders.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper reviews different production scenarios and system design and configuration methods and more particularly specifies the need of decision support tools for P&P systems that integrate configuration and planning activities. This problem is then addressed by proposing a method that helps reduce the solution space of the reconfiguration problem and allows the timely selection of the most promising reconfiguration alternative.

Findings

The proposed method was found to be helpful in reducing the reconfiguration alternatives that need to be considered and in selecting the most promising one for different orders. The advantages and limitations of this method are identified, and an illustrative test case of the approach is presented, corroborating the method applicability in the absence of large queues in the system.

Originality/value

This paper addresses a less explored domain within the P&P systems research field, which is the system reconfiguration. It proposed a method to support system validation and reconfiguration jointly with an illustrative test case. This represents an original contribution to the P&P research field, and it can have impact in improving agility and decreasing the complexity of reconfiguration activities to cope with constantly changing production orders.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 36 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 January 2018

Mahmood Reza Khabbazi, Jan Wikander, Mauro Onori and Antonio Maffei

This paper introduces a schema for the product assembly feature data in an object-oriented and module-based format using Unified Modeling Language (UML). To link production

Abstract

Purpose

This paper introduces a schema for the product assembly feature data in an object-oriented and module-based format using Unified Modeling Language (UML). To link production with product design, it is essential to determine at an early stage which entities of product design and development are involved and used at the automated assembly planning and operations. To this end, it is absolutely reasonable to assign meaningful attributes to the parts’ design entities (assembly features) in a systematic and structured way. As such, this approach empowers processes such as motion planning and sequence planning in assembly design.

Design/methodology/approach

The assembly feature data requirements are studied and definitions are analyzed and redefined. Using object-oriented techniques, the assembly feature data structure and relationships are modeled based on the identified requirements as five UML packages (Part, three-dimensional (3D) models, Mating, Joint and Handling). All geometric and non-geometric design data entities endorsed with assembly design perspective are extracted or assigned from 3D models and realized through the featured entity interface class. The featured entities are then associated (used) with the mating, handling and joints features. The AssemblyFeature interface is realized through mating, handling and joint packages related to the assembly and part classes. Each package contains all relevant classes which further classify the important attributes of the main class.

Findings

This paper sets out to provide an explanatory approach using object-oriented techniques to model the schema of assembly features association and artifacts at the product design level, all of which are essential in several subsequent and parallel steps of the assembly planning process, as well as assembly feature entity assignments in design improvement cycle.

Practical implications

The practical implication based on the identified advantages can be classified in three main features: module-based design, comprehensive classification, integration. These features help the automation and solution development processes based on the proposed models much easier and systematic.

Originality/value

The proposed schema’s comprehensiveness and reliability are verified through comparisons with other works and the advantages are discussed in detail.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 38 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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Article
Publication date: 21 September 2012

Richard Bloss

The purpose of this paper is to review the CIRP Conference on Technologies and Systems for Assembly Quality, Productivity and Customization, held at the University of Michigan.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to review the CIRP Conference on Technologies and Systems for Assembly Quality, Productivity and Customization, held at the University of Michigan.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper provides an in‐depth review of a number of the technical presentations at the conference by research institutes around the world.

Findings

Efforts to understand, model and improve automated production are advancing rapidly at research institutes in all regions of the world.

Practical implications

Implementers and users of automated production systems need to look carefully at the research going on around the world to maximize the quality, efficiency and throughput of automated production technologies.

Originality/value

The paper gives an expert insight into how automation innovation continues to address the production needs of manufacturers worldwide.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 32 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 25 September 2009

Abstract

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 29 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

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Article
Publication date: 12 June 2019

Pedro Ferreira, Paul Danny Anandan, Ivo Pereira, Vikrant Hiwarkar, Mohmed Sayed, Niels Lohse, Susana Aguiar, Gil Gonçalves, Joana Gonçalves and Fabian Bottinger

This paper aims to provide a service-based integrated prototype framework for the design of reusable modular assembly systems (RMAS) incorporating reusability of equipment…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a service-based integrated prototype framework for the design of reusable modular assembly systems (RMAS) incorporating reusability of equipment into the process. It extends AutomationML (AML) developments for an engineering data exchange to integrate and standardize the data formats that support the design of RMAS.

Design/methodology/approach

The approach provides a set of systematic procedures and support tools for the design of RMAS. This includes enhanced domain knowledge models that facilitate the interpretation and integration of information across the design phases.

Findings

The inclusion of reusability aspects in the design phase improves the sustainability of future assembly systems, by ensuring equipment use until its end-of-life. Moreover, the integrated support tools reduce the design time, while improving the quality/performance of the system design solution, as it enables the exploration of a larger solution space. This will result in a better response to dynamic and rapidly changing system requirements.

Social implications

This work provides a sustainable approach for the design of modular assembly systems (MAS), which will ensure better resource utilization. Additionally, the standardization of the data and the support of low cost tools is expected to benefit industrial companies, particularly the small- and medium-sized enterprises.

Originality/value

This approach offers a service-based platform which uses production data to incorporate reusability aspects into the design process of modular assembly system. Moreover, it provides a framework for modular assembly system design by extending the current design processes and interactions between stakeholders. To support this, a standardized method for information representation and exchange across the several phases of the RMAS design activity is briefly illustrated with an industrial case study.

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Article
Publication date: 17 February 2012

Mads Hvilshøj, Simon Bøgh, Oluf Skov Nielsen and Ole Madsen

The purpose of this paper is to present experience from a real‐world demonstration of autonomous industrial mobile manipulation (AIMM) based on the mobile manipulator…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present experience from a real‐world demonstration of autonomous industrial mobile manipulation (AIMM) based on the mobile manipulator “Little Helper” performing multiple part feeding at the pump manufacturer Grundfos A/S.

Design/methodology/approach

The necessary AIMM technologies exist at a mature level – the reason that no mobile manipulators have yet been implemented in industrial environments, is that research in the right applications have not been carried out. The paper proposes a pragmatic approach consisting of: a commercial‐off‐the‐shelf (COTS) mobile manipulator system design (“Little Helper”), a suitable and comprehensive industrial application (multiple part feeding), and a general implementation concept for industrial environments (the “Bartender Concept”).

Findings

Results from the three days of real‐world demonstration show that “Little Helper” is capable of successfully servicing four part feeders in three production cells using command signals from an Open Process Control (OPC) server. Furthermore, the paper presents future research and development suggestions for AIMM, which contributes to near‐term industrial maturation and implementation.

Originality/value

The paper presents a full‐scale demonstration of a state‐of‐the‐art COTS autonomous mobile manipulator system with particular focus on industrial utilization and application.

Details

Assembly Automation, vol. 32 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-5154

Keywords

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