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Factory of the Future Production Theory

Objective

The FOF Action aims to develop a designer's workbench for one-of-a-kind production systems that will help in evaluating the consequences of design choices from a variety of viewpoints. The workbench will consist of prototype simulation models, demonstrators, and design tools.
A designer's workbench for one of a kind production systems was developed, based on integrating several key paradigms in computer integrated manufacture (CIM) systems design, such as workflow structuring and group technology, decision making, organization of resources, and communication.

Firstly, the research has studied existing theories on the various aspects of one of a kind production system design. 7 paradigms are investigated: human, organizational, data oriented, functional, decisional, communication and economic.
Secondly, descriptions of the paradigms have been produced using a questionnaire with which a local research team can describe a particular factory from all the viewpoints concerned. These paradigms are synthesized into a global conceptual model for one of a kind production system design.

The integration of the 7 different viewpoints has been addressed and true integration is found in those cases where a single design choice has to be evaluated starting from a number of different points of view. A set of central design issues has been identified, and they have been related to the main performance criteria. A hardware base (mainly Macintosh), and software environments (Hypercard, Stella and Simmek) have been chosen, and the formalization of the conceptual model is ready. This work has resulted in a set of related models, which are structured in an open architecture. A prototype modelling workbench is available.

The project investigates the integration of the various scientific disciplines involved in the design of production systems. It is limited to one of a kind production, and is especially relevant to computer integrated manufacturing (CIM). The central idea is that the alternatives available in redesigning a factory cross the boundaries of established scientific or engineering disciplines. Similarly, the performance indicators which measure the suitability of a redesign cross the boundaries of established disciplines. Consequently, the project focuses on these performance indicators as well. The relationship between design choices and performance indicators is modelled in a qualitative manner by a so called connectance model. This model is implemented in a tool called REMBRANDT, which allows the user to browse through available design theory. Detailed knowledge of relations between design choices and performance indicators is being developed in a number of so-called drawing models. These drawing models are quantitative in nature, and can be fed with data from actual companies.
APPROACH AND METHODS
Firstly, the Action has studied existing theories on the various aspects of one-of-a-kind production system design. Seven paradigms are investigated: human, organisational, data-oriented, functional, decisional, communication and economic.
Secondly, descriptions of the paradigms have been produced using a questionnaire with which a local research team can describe a particular factory from all the viewpoints concerned. These paradigms are synthesised into a global conceptual model for one-of-a-kind production system design. This conceptual model relates design choices made when designing a CIM production system to performance indicators deriving from all the paradigms. The conceptual model has been implemented in a prototype modelling workbench on a Macintosh. The workbench has an open architecture, such that new, specific models can easily be added..
The initial implementation of the conceptual model has provided guidelines and examples of how to use the workbench utilities. The implementation and guidelines are used for modelling existing industrial test-sites.
PROGRESS AND RESULTS
The questionnaires are available. The integration of the seven different viewpoints has been addressed. The main difference between viewpoints are the criteria which are used when evaluating the choices made during the design of a production system. True integration is found in those cases where a single design choice has to be evaluated starting from a number of different points of view. A set of central design issues has been identified, and they have been related to the main performance criteria. A hardware base (mainly Macintosh), and software environments (Hypercard, Stella and Simmek) have been chosen, and the formalisation of the conceptual model is ready. This work has resulted in a set of related models, which are structured in an open architecture. A prototype modelling workbench is available.
The central idea in the Action is that the alternatives available in redesigning a factory cross the boundaries of established scientific or engineering disciplines. Therefore, these alternatives or "design choices" play a major role in our approach. Similarily, the performance indicators, which measure the suitability of a redesign, cross the boundaries of established disciplines. Consequently, the FOF action also focuses on these performance indicators.
The relationship between design choices and performance indicators is modelled in a qualitative manner by a so-called connectance model. This model is implemented in a tool called REMBRANDT, which allows us to browse through available design theory. Detailed knowledge of relations between design choices and performance indicators is being developed in a number of so-called drawing models. These drawing models are quantitative in nature, and can be fed with data from actual companies.
Currently, the first prototype of the designer's workbench is available for demonstration.
POTENTIAL
The main result of the Action is a more powerful and complete theory of production management that relates design choices to performance indicators from various points of view. This is a necessary precondition for the use of CIM in one-of-a-kind production systems.
The workbench is now used for the development of training courses in companies and for post-experience education.
The Action will lead to an integrated approach for the design of future OKP systems, in which design choices are evaluated concurrently from various points of view. A prototype workbench with an open architecture has now been developed, in which models that relate specific design choices to specific performance indicators can be interconnected and jointly evaluated.
Currently nine models are included in the workbench, which concentrate on production management issues. The aim is to extend the area of knowledge by adding more models, specifically about shopfloor and engineering issues. Given the open architecture, other researchers will also be able to add models.

Coordinator

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITEIT EINDHOVEN
Address
, 513
5600 MB Eindhoven
Netherlands

Participants (6)

DANMARKS TEKNISKE HOJSKOLE
Denmark
Address
Bygning 344 & 345
2800 Lyngby
HELSINKI UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
Finland
Address
Otakaari 1
02150 Espoo
SINTEF PRODUCTION ENGINEERING
Norway
Address
Richard Birkelandsvej, 2B
7034 Trondheim
UNIVERSITY COLLEGE GALWAY
Ireland
Address
Nun's Island
Galway
Universität Bremen
Germany
Address
Klagenfurter Straße Betriebshof
28359 Bremen
Université de Bordeaux I
France
Address
351 Cours De La Libération
33405 Talence