The objectives of the Project is to develop a methodology to design tool logistics (storage, transportation and handling) systems for automated industrial shop-floor. Within the problem of the materials handling, tool logistics calls for a support system to rationalize and speed-up the design phase and to improve the quality of the results.
During the project runtime, a methodology for the design of tool logistics systems was developed based on the rationalisation of the industrial partners' experience in automated manufacturing plant design. In parallel, a classification of the architectures and the dynamic behaviour of Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS) and Flexible Transfer Lines (FTL) enabled the consortium to specify a Dynamic Plant Model. It represents plant structures, relations and significant static and dynamic attributes. Subsequent to the development of an event-driven Simulator, various editors for layout and production requirements and modifications, and a Decision Kernel, these modules were integrated together with the Dynamic Plant Model into the Tool Logistic Design Support System (TL-DSS). It enables the TLS designer to evaluate the complete FMS or FTL with realistic production scenarios.
The Project will first focus on identification of a suitable Knowledge base on the basis of the application experience of the industrial Partners involved, and with particular reference to the automotive industry's environment. Secondly, a design methodology will be developed, based on a problem-solving procedure which will combine heuristics and analytical models to handle the relevant design inputs (plant lay-out and strategic, production requirements). Finally, the formulated methodology will be implemented in a prototypical expert-type design support systems, incorporating simulation capabilities. The system will be validated and assessed through full-sale software implementation in the technical design department of the industrial Partners.
TLS being an integral part of FMS or FTL, must comply with all the requirements and constraints of the manufacturing system as a whole.
-physical structure of the system
- operative reliability;
-flexibility, in the sense that the system can easily shift from a productive situation to another with the minimum set-up time/costs.
These requirements are often contradictory and the trade-off among them, which is the basis for the specification/design of the TLS, is very complex.
In order to address this trade-off problem from a comprehensive point of view, a proper industrial application environment has to be selected; this project will deal with the automotive industry environment, including the following :
- different production strategies;
- high variety of pieces/components to be manufactured.