Factors for a decentralized production and sequence planning from the perspective of products and resources
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The trend towards more and more individual products leads to new challenges for production planning and scheduling. Rising numbers of variants, high fluctuations of demand and smaller production volumes require flexibility in production, which fixed assignments of products to lines often can't provide. A network of numerous internal and external manufacturing resources is necessary. The centralized production planning methods, used today, have reached the limit of their abilities in finding the best manufacturing route through this complex networks for each product. Approaches like industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing are current responses to handle mass customization by decentralization and enhanced computerization. In the future products will communicate with the machines as autonomous entities and find their optimal route through production on their own (managed by multi-agent systems). To reach this degree of self-control, systems need implemented criteria as basis for decision-making. This paper considers the different objectives of a product as it flows through the production (punctual delivery to low costs) on the one hand and, separately on the second hand, which factors the machines or resources need to optimize their schedules and what their goals are (high utilization and low costs). The different perspectives between the product objectives and the resources objectives are vividly illustrated in the analogy of a traveler planning his tour and a railroad company planning its time tables. This paper provides the important factors of influence and thereby supports the formation of a target system for software agents. It shows how product agents can decide which route to take through production and how resource agents find the optimal production program.
Paper presented at the Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Flexible Automation & Intelligent Manufacturing, held May 20-23, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas, and organized by the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Lean Systems, University of Texas at San AntonioIncludes bibliographical references