Our research in Holonic Manufacturing is concentrated on the following areas:
- Production Planning and Scheduling
- Flexible Human Integration
- Software Architecture for System Integration
Our group is a member of the International Holonic Manufacturing Systems (HMS)consortium. This consortium pursues research into holonic manufacturing via several work package agreements.
Production Planning and Scheduling
Our approach in holonic production planning and scheduling adopts a multiagent cooperative problem solving paradigm,where the workcells comprising the manufacturing process and theproducts to be generated are modeled as autonomous agents which interact dynamically using a bidding mechanism, based on the contract net protocol, to generate the production plan and schedule for each product unit. Overall, scheduling is implemented using a Production Reservation approach. A typical job shop testbed demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach by simulation experiments that compare its performance to heuristic dispatching rules commonly used in industry. Production Reservation augmented with the heuristic dispatching rules are shown to be even more effective, and such hybrid approaches should prove especially valuable in large variety discrete part and assembly manufacturing processes in the coming years.
Flexible Human Integration
Our contribution is in researching Flexible Human Integration. The goal is to incorporate human intelligence and skill into motion guidance, error detection, and sensing. Our research is based on a concept called Human Directed Local Autonomy (HuDL). HuDL is a paradigm for interaction between humans and mechatronics in an unstructured environment. In this paradigm, humans work closely with mechatronic agents and are responsible for goal decisions, while the mechatronic agent is responsible for local decisions.
Software Architecture for System Integration
The Intelligent Machine Architecture (IMA) is an object-based software architecture for robot control. This architecture provides the foundation forour development of holonic systems.