Remote Manufacturing Systems

This research proposes a concept for a next generation manufacturing system, which is globally distributed rather than geographically limited. This new manufacturing system is possible because of recent changes in manufacturing technology. To work as a global unit, companies need to work closely together to improve efficiency by sharing resources, experts, tools, and training.

This project is integrated with information technology to allow companies working together without the problem of distance. This project must be remotely controlled and monitored to allow an operator at a remote location to operate resources and monitor the performance of the manufacturing process at a manufacturing center through Internet.

Along with this concept, the initial RMS, which consists of two industrial robots, the Performer-MK-II and the SIR-1, and a rotary table, is developed. It allows the users to remotely assign the system to perform tasks through the Internet. Upon receiving a command, the two robots will try to perform the specified task, which was limited to pick-and-place type of application. That is, SIR-1 picks up a part from the supply and places it on the workspace. Consequently, the system utilized the major idea of bidding scheme used in common Contract-Net systems resulting in cooperative work between the robots and the rotary table.

Recently, our focus is moved from pick-and-place type to the assembling type of application. The new project, "an Internet-based remote assembling system (RAS)", is proposed. This system is remotely controlled through the Internet to allow an operator at a remote location to operate resources at an assembling workcell. For example, a Web browser connects the operator to the Web server at the assembling workcell to download an Internet-based design application, allowing the operator to select the product that needs to be assembled. After the selection, a command to assemble the product is created and sent to the assembling workcell. Along with this concept, preliminary results based on simulation will be shown.

Concept of a Remote Assembling System