A Study on Transport and Load in a Grid-based Manufacturing System
Standard mass-production is a well-known manufacturing concept. To make small quantities or even single items of a product according to user specifications at an affordable price, alternative agile production paradigms should be investigated and developed. The system presented in this article is based on a grid of cheap reconfigurable production units, called equiplets. A grid of these equiplets is capable to produce a variety of different products in parallel at an affordable price. The underlying agent-based software for this system is responsible for the agile manufacturing. An important aspect of this type of manufacturing is the transport of the products along the available equiplets. This transport of the products from equiplet to equiplet is quite different from standard production. Every product can have its own unique path along the equiplets. In this article several topologies are discussed and investigated. Also, the planning and scheduling in relation to the transport constraints is subject of this study. Some possibilities of realization are discussed and simulations are used to generate results with the focus on efficiency and usability for different topologies and layouts of the grid and its internal transport system. Closely related with this problem is the scheduling of the production in the grid. A discussion about the maximum achievable load on the production grid and its relation with the transport system is also included.
|Published in||International Journal on Advances in Software,|
|Year and volume||8 1 & 2|
|Key words||Multiagent-based manufacturing, Flexible transport|