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Journal Paper accepted at IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics – An Axiomatic Design of a Multi-Agent Reconfigurable Mechatronic System Architecture

The LIINES is pleased to announce the acceptance of the paper “An Axiomatic Design of a Multi-Agent Reconfigurable Mechatronic System Architecture” to the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics. The paper is authored by Prof. Amro M. Farid and Prof. Luis Ribeiro.

Recent trends in manufacturing require production facilities to produce a wide variety of products with an increasingly shorter product lifecycle. These trends force production facilities to adjust and redesign production lines on a more regular basis.

Reconfigurable manufacturing systems are designed for rapid change in structure; in both hardware and software components to address the required changes in production capacity and functionality.

Qualitative methods have recently been successful in achieving reconfigurability through multi-agent systems (MAS). However, their implementation remains limited, as an unambiguous quantitative reference architecture for reconfigurability has not yet been developed.

A design methodology based on quantitative reconfigurability measurement would facilitate a logical, and seamless transition between the five stages of the MAS design methodology, as shown below.

DesMethodology

Previous work on the reconfigurability of automated manufacturing systems has shown that reconfigurability depends primarily on architectural decisions made in stages 1, 2, 3, and 5. Operational performance of the manufacturing system after the reconfiguration is also important, but is often overlooked by the existing literature. As a result, it’s not clear:

  1. The degree to which existing designs have achieved their intended level of reconfigurability.
  2. Which systems are quantitatively more reconfigurable.
  3. How these designs may overcome their inherent design limitations to achieve greater reconfigurability in subsequent design iterations.

In order to address the previously mentioned issues with existing design methodologies, this paper develops a multi-agent system reference architecture for reconfigurable manufacturing systems driven by a quantitative and formal design approach, directly in line with the above Figure.

The paper uses Axiomatic Design for Large Flexible Engineering Systems to support a well-conceptualized architecture, which is necessary for excellent production system performance. Additionally, Axiomatic Design highlights potential design flaws at an early conceptual stage. This results in the first formal and quantitative reference architecture based on rigorous mathematics.

About the Author

Wester C.H. Schoonenberg completed his B.Sc. in Systems Engineering and Policy Analysis Management at Delft University of Technology in 2014. After his bachelors’ degree, Wester started his graduate work for the LIINES at Masdar Institute, which he continues as a doctoral student at Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College in 2015. Currently, Wester is working on the integrated operation of electrical grids and production systems with a special interest in Zero Carbon Emission Manufacturing Systems.

A full reference list of LIINES publications can be found here:
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Journal Paper Accepted at the Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing: Measures of reconfigurability and its key characteristics in intelligent manufacturing systems

The LIINES is pleased to announce that the Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing has accepted our paper entitled: “Measures of reconfigurability and its key characteristics in intelligent manufacturing systems”. The paper is authored by Amro M. Farid and was published in October 2014.

Many manufacturing challenges arise with the global trend of increased competition in the marketplace.  Production processes must deal with shorter product lifecycles and mass-customization. Consequently, production systems need to be quickly and incrementally adjusted to meet the ever-changing products. Reconfigurable manufacturing systems have been proposed as a solution that facilitates changing production processes for highly automated production facilities.

Much research has been done in the field of reconfigurable manufacturing systems. Topics include: modular machine tools and material handlers, distributed automation, artificially intelligent paradigms, and holonic manufacturing systems.  While these technological advances have demonstrated robust operation and been qualitatively successful in achieving reconfigurability, there has been comparatively little attention devoted to quantitative design methodologies of these reconfigurable manufacturing systems and their ultimate industrial adoption remains limited.

Measuring reconfigurability of manufacturing systems quantitatively has been a major challenge in the past, since a quantitative reconfigurability measurement process was non-existent. Earlier work developed a measurement method that extracts measurables from the production shop floor. When this was established, basic measures of reconfiguration potential and reconfiguration ease were developed, based on axiomatic design for large flexible engineering systems and the design structure matrix respectively.

Reconfiguration of a production process can be split up in four steps: Decide which configuration, Decouple, Reorganize, and Recouple. The larger the number of elements in the system, the more configurations are made possible. This is measured using the reconfiguration potential measure, based on axiomatic design for large flexible engineering systems.

Production processes contain multiple interfaces within themselves. Multiple layers of control can be distinguished, that have to work together to coordinate the physical components. These interfaces are the main determinants for the reconfiguration ease measure.

This paper combines these techniques to define a quantitative measure for reconfigurability and its key characteristics of integrability, convertibility and customization.    The intention behind this research contribution is that it may be integrated in the future into quantitative design methodologies for reconfigurable manufacturing systems, which may be easily adopted by industrial automation and production companies.

About the author: Wester Schoonenberg completed his B.Sc. in Systems Engineering and Policy Analysis Management at Delft University of Technology in 2014. After his bachelors’ degree, Wester started his M.Sc. at Masdar Institute of Science & Technology. Currently, Wester is working on the integrated operation of electrical grids and production systems with a special interest in the demand side management of industrial facilities.

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LIINES Website: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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ESM 616: Techno-Economic Analyses in Power System Operations

To start off the new semester, we have just developed a page for the ESM 616 Techno-Economic Analyses in Power System Operations class.  The subject seeks to prepare students for the new world of “smart grid” operations.  It specifically seeks to contrast conventional paradigms of power system operations and control with those that will appear in the coming decades.   Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary, holistic approaches founded upon industrial application and mathematical rigor.  See the LIINES Blog Keywords:  ADWEA — Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority, CIGRE, Control Systems Engineering, DEWA — Dubai Water & Electricity Authority, Dynamic Systems Modeling, Enterprise Control, Graph Theory, IEEE, IEEE CSS, Large Complex Systems, Model-Based Systems Engineering, Operations Research, Power System Economics

Good luck to all as we kick off the Spring Semester.

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ESM 501 Systems Architecture

To start off the new semester, we have just developed a page for the ESM 501 System Architecture class.  The subject addresses one of the first stages of system design, analysis and engineering.  Emphasis is placed on engineering systems which include technical, economic and social aspects.  This blog does often discuss subjects related to systems architecture.  See the LIINES Blog Keywords:  Axiomatic Design, Axiomatic Design for Large Flexible Systems, Design Methodologies, Enterprise Control, Graph Theory, Life Cycle Properties, Model-Based Systems Engineering, Socio-Techno-Economic Systems, and SysML.

Additionally, a new page has been added to overview our other taught courses.

Good luck to all as we kick off the Fall Semester.

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LIINES Website: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Prof. Amro M. Farid presents Reconfigurable Manufacturing System Research at IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Conference in Manchester, UK

A Reconfigurable manufacturing system is a system that is designed at the outset for rapid change in structure, as well as in hardware and software components, in order to quickly adjust production capacity and functionality within a part family in response to sudden changes in market or regulatory requirements.  The challenge in the design of such systems is how to enable such reconfigurations and why.   One piece in the design puzzle is production path enumeration.  On Wednesday October 16th, Prof. Amro M. Farid presented his latest work on Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems at the IEEE Systems Man and Cybernetics Conference, Manchester UK.  This paper entitled:  “An Axiomatic Design Approach to Non-Assembled Production Path Enumeration in Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems”  combines Axiomatic Design for Large Flexible Systems with graph theory to present novel approaches to the design of reconfigurable manufacturing systems.

Full text of the paper and previous work may be found through the LIINES Website  publications page under paper code [RMS-C08].

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Prof. Amro M. Farid gives invited lecture at U.of Connecticut Mechanical Engineering Department

On September 24th, Prof. Amro M. Farid gave an invited lecture at the University of Connecticut Mechanical Engineering department.  The goal of the lecture entitled “Applications of Axiomatic Design for Large Flexible Systems” strove to demonstrate how Axiomatic Design may be practically applied.  After a tutorial on the subject, the lecture highlighted the recent LIINES research on the application of Axiomatic Design to Temporary Housing and Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems.

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Research Theme Highlight Part I: Smart Power Grids

The Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems maintains a research program composed of four complementary themes.  In the third of a four part series on the LIINES website,  the laboratory’s Smart Power Grid Research Theme is highlighted.  This work proposes the concept of Power Grid Enterprise Control as means of designing and assuring the holistic dynamic properties of power grids.

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LIINES Website: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Research Theme Highlight Part III: Smart Power Grids

The Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems maintains a research program composed of four complementary themes.  In the third of a four part series on the LIINES website,  the laboratory’s Smart Power Grid Research Theme is highlighted.  This work proposes the concept of Power Grid Enterprise Control as means of designing and assuring the holistic dynamic properties of power grids.

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LIINES Website: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Research Theme Highlight Part IV: Industrial Energy Management

The Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems maintains a research program composed of four complementary themes.  In the second of a four part series on the LIINES website,  the laboratory’s Industrial Energy Management Research Theme is highlighted.  This work brings together Axiomatic Design for Large Flexible Systems, Graph Theory  and Design Structure Matrices to develop quantitative measures of reconfigurability.

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LIINES Website: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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Research Theme Highlight Part II: Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems

The Laboratory for Intelligent Integrated Networks of Engineering Systems maintains a research program composed of four complementary themes.  In the second of a four part series on the LIINES website,  the laboratory’s Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems Research Theme is highlighted.  This work brings together Axiomatic Design for Large Flexible Systems, Graph Theory  and Design Structure Matrices to develop quantitative measures of reconfigurability.

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LIINES Website: http://amfarid.scripts.mit.edu

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