The development and testing of new 'intelligent' services for distributed manufacturing by means of a pilot system using existing manufacturing facilities in different countries, on the basis of existing services and pilot broadband facilities and protocols.
Various aspects of new services for distributed design and manufacturing processes were explored. Foundation work involved the development of a model of a manufacturing enterprise and its communications structure, and the elaboration of a number of future manufacturing and communications scenarios. This led to the specificiation of the information bases and interfaces for a future distributed manufacturing environment.
Work then proceeded to 3 practical pilot experiments. In the first, there was the test of the implementation of a communications link between a main contractor and his subcontractor for the exchange of computer aided design (CAD) drawings. The second developed the CHAMADE tool, for the management of design change in a distributed environment, and as a practical exercise was based on the design and order of a lift (elevator). The third, integrating, pilot implemented the Multimedia Industrial LAN (MILAN) demonstrator to show multimedia, transnational group working.
The research has accelerated the development of advanced telecommunications services in the manufacturing area, with evident benefits in efficiency, cost saving and the acceleration of the order design manufacturing cycle. It has also promoted the use of mulimedia communication in an international manufacturing environment, as the means of attaining new levels of business effectiveness.
To benefit from advanced telecommunication services in public networks, geographically distributed manufacturing enterprises require applications supporting special features and equipment. These include eg. short but time-critical messages, non-time-critical transfer of long files (CAD, NC programming) and picture or video information. For this sector, it is therefore necessary to support both formal and informal communication (person to person) in an integrated IBC network.
The project has developed a business scenario where strong communication links between geographically separated contractor, subcontractor and service companies is necessary, to optimise utilisation both of manufacturing equipment and design expertise. During the first phase of work, a study and modelling analysis of new telecommunication services required in distributed manufacturing applications has been carried out. In the second phase three pilots (local and international) have been established to substantiate the theoretical model and to provide a practical demonstration of how users' needs in manufacturing can be met by the deployment of advanced telecommunication systems.
- Cooperation amongst partners in distributed design and manufacturing activities, flexibility in operation and collaboration.
- Analysis of traffic requirements (critical timing and message priorities).
- Use of broadband communications in supporting more flexible manufacturing procedures.
- Demonstration of the special benefits of multi-channel video in resolving manufacturing issues.
- Ability of the manufacturing enterprise to respond to customer's needs quickly and effectively.
- Development of a model of an enterprise and its internal and external communications interfaces. These have been effective in identifying future broadband communication requirements in the manufacturing sector.
- Development of a number of future manufacturing and communication scenarios.
- Evaluation of key aspects of these scenarios by simulating them in the pilots ie: SME communications (partnership); asynchronous group working (data and context); synchronous group working (video for rapport)
- Specification of information bases and interfaces for a DIMUN environment.
- EB pilot. Implementation of a communication link between main contractor and subcontractor for exchange of CAD drawings.
- KONE pilot. Development of CHAMADE (change management in distributed environment) that supports transnational group working on order processing. This was developed using PAGES (programmable agents for group extendible systems) which provides extendible object oriented messaging framework for data and voice mail.
- BIBA pilot. Implementation of MILAN (multimedia industrial LAN) demonstrator. This integrates the object oriented paradigm with the distributed control LAN philosophy to support the concept of multimedia transnational group-working.
The project expects to accelerate the development of advanced telecommunication services for manufacturing applications, based on existing networks and pilot broadband facilities. It also promotes the use of multimedia communication in an international manufacturing environment, as the means of attaining new levels of business effectiveness.