Computers in Industry

Published by Elsevier
Online ISSN: 0166-3615
Publications
Conference Paper
We argue that database support for design processes is still inadequate, despite the many transaction models that have been put forth to fill this deficiency. In our opinion, substantial improvement is not to be had by introducing yet another transaction model, but by questioning the basic paradigm of transaction processing itself: Instead of the usual view of transactions as destructive operations replacing an outdated database state with a more current one, we propose to view design transactions as non-destructive operations importing additional knowledge about an essentially unchanging final design solution. This leads to a model of designing with constraints, and a natural way of concurrent design. We give a formal presentation of the model and then discuss implementation techniques for centralized and distributed constraint management
 
Conference Paper
This work utilizes the pattern recognition (PR) technologies by Client-Server network structure into a web-based recognizing system. The system uses a recurrent neural network (RNN) with associative memory to perform the action of training and recognition. Client-end engineer is able to draw directly the shape of engineering components by the browser, and the recognition system will proceed with search for the component database of company by the structure of Internet. In this paper, these component patterns are stored in the database system. Their properties and specifications are also attached to the data field of each component pattern except the pattern of engineering component. These Component patterns with the approach of database system will be able to improve the capacity of recognition system effectively. In our approach, the recognition system adopts parallel computing, and it will raise the recognition rate of system. Our recognition system is a client-server network structure by Internet. The last phase joins the technology of database matching in process of the recognition, and it will solve the problem of spurious state. In this paper, our study will be carried out in the Yang-Fen Automation Electrical Engineering Company. Therefore, the cooperative plan of above context will be analyzed and discussed in this paper.
 
Article
Group technology takes advantage of the similarities of parts and machines in a manufacturing system. In this paper the classification and clustering approaches to group technology in manufacturing systems are discussed. The mathematical programming formulations for the clustering problem are presented. The impact of group technology on the layout of machines in flexible manufacturing systems and applications of expert systems to group technology are also discussed.
 
Article
This report describes standards work carried out by CEN TC310 WG1 and its precursor CEN/CENELEC WG-ARC in 1991–1993.
 
Article
This paper introduces the notion of using co-evolution to adapt the penalty factors of a fitness function incorporated in a genetic algorithm (GA) for numerical optimization. The proposed approach produces solutions even better than those previously reported in the literature for other (GA-based and mathematical programming) techniques that have been particularly fine-tuned using a normally lengthy trial and error process to solve a certain problem or set of problems. The present technique is also easy to implement and suitable for parallelization, which is a necessary further step to improve its current performance.
 
Article
To machine a part from the CAD data, machining information has to be extracted from the design model. In the planning stage, the machining information such as the cutting area, removal volume, estimated machining time, etc., is important for the generation of a “good” process plan. This machining information is typically not readily available from the design. This paper discusses a methodology of applying computational geometry techniques to extract machining information of geometric constraints from a given complex surface design to support the process planning activity. The machining process is determined by part surface classification based on surface geometry interrogation. An application of convex hulls is also presented to improve the machining productivity by preprocessing the object geometry for machining. The proposed methodology can be applied in the automation of planning and manufacturing of complex surface parts. Some practical examples and testing results are presented to show the application in solving manufacturing problems.
 
Article
Linguistic Fuzzy Logic Controller (LFLC) 2000 is a complex tool for the design of linguistic descriptions and fuzzy control based on these descriptions. Unique methodology and theoretical results upon which is LFLC 2000 based are presented. Then, main purposes of it are sketched and some implementation aspects are discussed. Presentation of existing and perspective applications concludes the paper.
 
Article
This paper is the statement of goals, guidelines and procedures to automate the generation of an optimized ordering of 2-D tool paths for axis milling of cavities for molds and dies designed on a geometric modeler. It addresses the overall goal of increasing productivity by shortening manufacturing time. The system described has the potential of dictating all motion for the milling tool, and automatically reducing the number of retractions to the minimal number possible within guidelines. It specifies predrill locations for tool plunges. In addition, it incorporates mechanisms for handling optional avoidance and containment regions of arbitrary shape. At the Corporate Research & Development of General Electric, the geometric modeler name TRUCE (Tridimensional Rational Unified Cubic Engine) has been extended to implement the techniques described. Figures were generated on this system.
 
Article
The long term future impact of CIM upon our society as a whole will be to make a wider variety of products available at reasonable prices combined with high levels of variety, customization, timeliness, newness and quality. CIM changes manufacturing from a physical and mechanical system into an information and knowledge work activity subject to the laws of economy of “scope” as well as “scale”. This means that the factory will no longer be an economic barrier to rapid rates of innovation; and sophisticated, complex and intimate vendor-customer relations. However, in addition to investing in new technology, the firm will need to develop new strategies for each business area and new tactics for marketing; more flexible organizational structures designed to implement strategies based on timeliness, innovation, variety, niche markets and product augmentation; sophisticated policies for human resource management; and very different accounting systems and financial analysis algorithms.
 
Article
Rapid prototyping (RP) technology has been developing very fast in the last 10 years. Some ideas concerning this technology are presented in the paper for predicting the evolution in the future. Shaping science is proposed to research for the improvement of RP process and generation of new processes. Issues including product development tool, direct metal part manufacturing, rapid tooling and RP machine design are discussed. Extension of its application in more areas will be beneficial for the advancement of RP.
 
Article
This paper presents an algorithm for converting the contour of a 2D workpiece into a rectilinear polygon. The purpose of providing such a conversion is to model the global shape information of the workpiece. Using an existing algorithm, the rectilinear polygon can further be modeled by a tree structure of line segments, known as the simplified skeleton, which can concisely model the global shape information of a workpiece. That is, workpieces with similar global shape can be classified into the same group by considering the similarity among their simplified skeletons. This algorithm is helpful to enhance the modeling capability of the traditional group technology coding schemes.
 
Article
The matching of particular types of CAD models to existing physical models can provide invaluable support to the process of CAD design and reuse. To meet the demand for fast and robust algorithms to detect predefined models in database, an local invariant model matching approach is proposed in this paper. It first maps the 3D CAD model to 2D principal image plane by its first two principal components, and then finds affine invariant key points in the 2D image. The CAD model matching problem is implemented as key points matching. Experimental results show the proposed 3D model retrieval method performs fairly well in retrieving similar models from a database of 3D CAD models.
 
Article
As an innovative and cost-effective method for carrying out multiple-axis CNC machining, -axis CNC machining technique adds an automatic indexing/rotary table with two additional discrete rotations to a regular 3-axis CNC machine, to improve its ability and efficiency for machining complex sculptured parts. In this work, a new tool path generation method to automatically subdivide a complex sculptured surface into a number of easy-to-machine surface patches; identify the favorable machining set-up/orientation for each patch; and generate effective 3-axis CNC tool paths for each patch is introduced. The method and its advantages are illustrated using an example of sculptured surface machining. The work contributes to automated multiple-axis CNC tool path generation for sculptured part machining and forms a foundation for further research.
 
Article
We propose a garment-fitting system for an online retail model, which uses a consumer's 3D body data for garment fitting. This system uses front and back images to model the garment and 3D laser scanned body data to model the body. In order to recognize characteristic points on the 3D body data, a moment template composed of central moments of vector angle sets on 3D body data is proposed, and an implementation combining the 3D data and garment images is reported, which includes modeling, collision detection and feedback handling. The resulting system would support an online retail business model for garments. In the proposed business model, a body data center would scan the body and store the 3D data, the simulated garment-fitting program would be provided to individual consumers for fitting on a home PC, and retail shops would exhibit garment images on their websites. In this proposed model, security of personal data and computational cost will not be an issue.
 
Article
A reverse engineering method for sculptured surface modeling is proposed in this work. It includes a curve fitting algorithm and a surface lofting algorithm, where the former is used to fit each row of measurement data to obtain a B-spline curve and the latter is used to fit the section curves into a lofted surface. The above two fitting algorithms are essentially one-dimensional, whereas the commonly used B-spline surface fitting is two-dimensional. This makes the proposed method more effective in terms of computational efficiency and CPU memory required. Both computer simulation and experimental results indicate that the proposed method can efficiently be used for the reverse engineering of complex object shape.
 
Article
This paper describes a novel 3D simulation modelling system for supporting our distributed machine design and control paradigm with respect to simulating and emulating machine behaviour on the Internet. The system has been designed and implemented using Java2D and Java3D. An easy assembly concept of drag-and-drop assembly has been realised and implemented by the introduction of new connection features (unified interface assembly features) between two assembly components (modules). The system comprises a hierarchical geometric modeller, a behavioural editor, and two assemblers. During modelling, designers can combine basic modelling primitives with general extrusions and integrate CAD geometric models into simulation models. Each simulation component (module) model can be visualised and animated in VRML browsers. It is reusable. This makes machine design re-configurable and flexible. A case study example is given to support our conclusions.
 
Article
Three-dimensional (3D) image processing provides a useful tool for machine vision applications. Typically a 3D vision system is divided into data acquisition, low-level processing, object representation and matching. In this paper, a 3D object pose estimation method is developed for an automated manufacturing assembly process. The experimental results show that the 3D pose estimation method produces accurate geometrical information for an automated material handling application. (c) 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
 
Article
Secure and pervasive 3D CAD model sharing among all collaborative participants is vital to successful Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) applications. However, existing product data management (PDM) solutions only provide rigid 3D data access control mechanism like ‘all-or-nothing’ scenario and thus prevents companies from sharing their 3D data effectively. 3D data sharing can be facilitated if proper technologies are available to break the previous two-grade (grant-or-deny) scheme into more levels and present to a user a 3D model with proper level of detail reduction. Therefore, a collaborator can work on his 3D data as full model while viewing other models in lighter visualisation as mesh or bounding boxes. This paper proposes role-based visualisation to realise the above concept and a prototype system is developed to validate the proposed approach in commercial CAD/PDM applications. Several key issues and future work are discussed.
 
Article
This paper proposes tangible interfaces and interactions for authoring 3D virtual and immersive scenes easily and intuitively in tangible augmented reality (AR) environment. It provides tangible interfaces for manipulating virtual objects in a natural and intuitive manner and supports adaptive and accurate vision-based tracking in AR environments. In particular, RFID is used to directly integrate physical objects with virtual objects and to systematically support the tangible query of the relation between physical objects and virtual ones, which can provide more intuitive tangibility and a new way of virtual object manipulation. Moreover, the proposed approach offers an easy and intuitive switching mechanism between tangible environment and virtual environment. This paper also proposes a context-adaptive marker tracking method which can remove an inconsistent problem while embedding virtual objects into physical ones in tangible AR environments. The context-adaptive tracking method not only adjusts the locations of invisible markers by interpolating the locations of existing reference markers and those of previous ones, but also removes a jumping effect of movable virtual objects when their references are changed from one marker to another. Several case studies for generating tangible virtual scenes and comparison with previous work are given to show the effectiveness and novelty of the proposed approach.
 
Article
This paper mainly discusses the methodology through which one can sequence the 3D point data derived from either contact or non-contact measuring device. As an input into computer-aided design (CAD), the ordered data serves as input to fit smooth surfaces. Such an arrangement of 3D point data tempts to integrate a computer-controlled coordinate measuring system with a CAD system, and thereby establish a reverse engineering system for 3D sculptured surface design. For sequencing the measured point data, this paper adopts resorts to cross-checking the data with distances and angles, so as to categorize and index the points. Once the ordered point data are ensured, the cubic non-uniform B-spline (NUB) mathematical model is used for fitting the points into smooth surfaces. In addition to control points, the parameters of NUB curves or surfaces manage to designate knot points which are able to turn unequidistant measured points into smooth curves or surfaces, while at the same time retaining the function of shape local-control. This allows the designer to adjust local areas of curves or surfaces and thereby create a geometric shape fulfilling all designing functions. Aside from a discussion on fundamental methodology of point-sequencing, this research also focuses on the development of reverse-engineering system software. The user can input 3D point data of different formats, and the developed system will find control points to establish the NUB surface model. This system is most characterized by its elimination of any complicated manual work involved in pre-processing 3D point data.
 
Article
This paper presents a method of 3D streaming for collaborative design in networked environment. It is derived from the concept of multiple levels of detail (LODs) in product information. A CAD model is decomposed into triangular meshes grouped by its design features. Aggregating the mesh data in different manners produces models at various LODs. The method allows incremental transmission of 3D model from a coarse representation to a finer one through a sequence of LODs specified by the sender. Each transmission only consists of the mesh difference between two LOD models. A prototyping platform with a proprietary client–server framework is developed using Java™ technologies to demonstrate the effectiveness of the method. A lightweight client can progressively receive the streaming data while rendering the corresponding model without implementing complex CAD functions. A scenario of sharing product information among multiple participants in collaborative design illustrates the streaming process. This work provides a useful mechanism that improves the efficiency, effectiveness, as well as security in sharing large CAD files over the network.
 
Article
One of the challenging problems that hinder the development of distributed design systems is the contradiction of large CAD files and the limited speed to share them over the Internet and Web. 3D streaming technique, which can allow effective and efficient dispatch and access of large-volume CAD data as a series of patched streams across the Internet, provides a promising solution to overcome the obstacle. Geometric simplification (or decimation) of 3D models is a key algorithm to realize the streaming technique. In this paper, a new geometric simplification algorithm has been developed, in which two criteria are the crucial elements to control the collapse process for edges in 3D VRML models to reduce the amount of information. After the simplification and sharing of a model, a developed refinement algorithm is carried out to restore the model from its simplified version back to its original, through combining the simplified model with some reconstruction data generated during the simplification process, therefore, to realize the streaming information sharing. The major feature of the simplification algorithm is that it has incorporated some advantages of the previously developed vertex decimation approach and edge collapse approach. Meanwhile, the mechanism of adaptive threshold parameters adopted in this work enhances the adaptability of the algorithm for various applications. Through case studies and comparisons with some related works, the algorithm shows good performance and potentials in terms of effectiveness, adaptability and robustness.
 
Article
This paper presents an online ergonomic evaluation system for 3D product development with car interior design as an example, which consists of a 3D viewer, a digital human model, an ergonomic engine, and the web-based GUI's. The digital human is constructed with a number of templates based on anthropometry database that represent various levels of body size and shape for the end-user. The interactions between the human and a product model are captured by the viewer, and thus, simulate the user operation of the product. According to the Chaffin's biomechanical model, the ergonomic engine then computes the physical loads of body joints with the captured information. The result enables online evaluation of the product design from the ergonomic aspects. It also serves as a base of interactive product customization. This research is the first study that realizes the web-based ergonomic evaluation for 3D car interior design with no needs of high-end CAD systems or complex VR environment. In this manner, the human factor issues can be effectively taken into account at the early design phase and the costs of ergonomic evaluation will be significantly reduced.
 
Article
This paper presents a parametric design system for 3D tire mold production. Tire grooves commonly used in the current industry are classified according to their modeling procedures, and the design parameters for each groove type are characterized. The result serves as a foundation for standardization of the tire mold design. The presented system simplifies the construction of 3D groove surfaces by reducing the number of interactive modeling operations. The resultant surface model is parameterized, and thus, allows for rapid creation of other grooves with simple design tables. In addition, a set of geometric algorithms is proposed that first detects undesired groove geometries arising in the design process, and then corrects them automatically. In this manner, 3D mold models are created with minimal user interactions. This work is implemented in an integrated CAD/CAM system for actual mold production. Test examples demonstrate that it provides an effective approach to reducing the time yet improving the quality of tire mold development.
 
Article
The objective of this paper is to carefully examine the important issues involved in the design and development of a CAD/CAM translator for an industrial robot and report the successful development of a translator for the IBM 7535 SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robotic Arm) robot to convert the simulation data from McDonnell Douglas' Place system to Aml/e at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). SCARA robots are widely used in assembly operations and the translator serves as the interface between the CAD system and the robot controller. It has been found that there are numerous significant advantages, such as off-line programming (OLP), of using such a translator in various manufacturing industries. OLP involves the translation of positioning instructions, process parameters and other appropriate instructions to the robot's native language. The translator output is then generally downloaded to the robot controller directly. This paper concen in designing and developing such a robotic translator for the IBM 7535 robot. Various issues and challenges encountered along the way are described in detail. The Evans & Sutherland CAD system and the McDonnell Douglas robotic simulation software comprising four software packages, namely Place built, Adjust and Command, have been used for simulating the workcell.
 
Article
This paper describes the implementation and evaluation of an Intel 8097 based controller for an XY plotter. The plotter utilized two stepper motors to drive its two axes and a solenoid for the pen up/pen down functions. A pulley mounted on the shaft and a steel wire belt were used to translate the steps of the motor to the platform with the pen holder. Driver circuits for the motor and the solenoid were developed and implemented. Microcomputer hardware was developed to implement the control system for the plotter. Algorithms for linear and circular contouring, which were adapted from Brensenham's raster scanning algorithms, were implemented for the discrete step motion. They were translated into pl/m-96, the programming language for this particular microcontroller.The system developed is capable of drawing geometric shapes utilizing the primitives developed. These concepts along with the software implementing the drawing algorithms can be used for a computer numerical control machine.
 
Article
This paper discusses the principles of a modelling technique called IDEF9000. IDEF9000 takes a systems view of a Fulfil Order Process and allows the modelling of activities, functional relationships and data. Developed from the original IDEF0 modelling technique, IDEF9000 uses an extended syntax and semantics to identify the links to the ISO 9001 quality standard and visually highlights them for redesign. The paper describes the method and its application in a case study.
 
Article
In this paper, we propose a hybrid genetic algorithm with fuzzy logic controller (flc-hGA) to solve the resource-constrained multiple project scheduling problem (rc-mPSP) which is well known NP-hard problem. Objectives described in this paper are to minimize total project time and to minimize total tardiness penalty. However, it is difficult to treat the rc-mPSP problems with traditional optimization techniques. The proposed new approach is based on the design of genetic operators with fuzzy logic controller (FLC) through initializing the revised serial method which outperforms the non-preemptive scheduling with precedence and resources constraints. For these rc-mPSP problems, we demonstrate that the proposed flc-hGA yields better results than conventional genetic algorithms and adaptive genetic algorithm.
 
Article
The aim of this study is to accelerate new product introduction and to improve the quality of decision-making in new product development (NPD) process under uncertain conditions. We first present the uncertainty factors related to NPD and also give existing decision-making techniques that help the decision makers to reduce their risks under uncertainty. Basically, we are interested in two stages of new product decision-making: the choice of a new product idea (“go”/“no go” decision) and the choice of the right implementation order of the selected product ideas. To achieve this, we propose an integrated approach based on fuzzy logic, neural networks and multi criteria decision-making to make the most appropriate decisions. By utilizing artificial intelligent techniques, we manage to accelerate the selection process. Finally, a case study in a toy manufacturing firm is given to demonstrate the potential of the methodology.
 
Article
The parameter estimation problem for continuous-time linear and nonlinear mechanical system is considered in a unified framework and the ordinary discrete-time linear least squares approach is extended in a natural manner to these systems. To avoid the measurements of accelerations, a direct integral method is presented and shown, by simulation studies of a planar robot dynamics identification, to be almost equivalent to the method requiring the measurements of accelerations.
 
Article
This paper describes the access to a database of prosthetic parts using an information sharing system (ISS). The prosthetic parts modeled are made of ceramic materials. The prosthetic parts modeled are a formal head, a cup, and a cup and head device. The information about the prosthetic parts is based on a feature based model and is stored in a relational database which is a part of a CAD system. The model for the information sharing system is object-oriented. The relational database is accessed remotely from the object-oriented model of the ISS using a gateway to the CAD system. This implementation illustrates two key concepts: the ISS approach to distributed, heterogeneous database integration and the ISS methodology for building gateways. It also shows some of the problems and solutions in databases that do not support sql type queries.
 
Article
Collaborating throughout a product life cycle via virtual enterprise (VE) is one of the most promising strategies for enhancing global competitiveness. Efficient and secure knowledge sharing is critical to the success of a VE. This study presents a novel approach, model and technology for knowledge access control and sharing across enterprises. First, this study proposes an ontology-based knowledge sharing model and a multiple-layer knowledge representation framework on which a knowledge access control model for knowledge sharing in a VE is proposed. In the proposed model, user authorizations permitting access to knowledge in a VE are classified into two levels: (1) basic privileges and (2) extended privileges. The former is evaluated from four dimensions, i.e. who, what, when and where, while the latter is determined by considering how three domain ontologies, i.e., product, organization and activity, are related. This study then develops a knowledge access control policy (KACP) language model which is used to identify the knowledge access control and sharing rules of a VE and all its enterprise members. The knowledge access control model proposed in this study can facilitate VE Knowledge management and sharing across enterprises, enhance knowledge sharing security and flexibility and regulate knowledge sharing to expeditiously reflect changes in the business environment.
 
Article
Collaborative systems enable organizations to communicate, interact and cooperate with each other to achieve their business goals. Access control is an important security mechanism for organizations to protect their resources in collaborative environments. Many access control models and mechanisms have been proposed for collaborative systems. However, under the new collaborative paradigm based on Web services and workflow technologies, some specific access control requirements should be addressed to support the various process collaboration patterns. In this paper, we present a task-activity based access control (TABAC) model for process collaboration environments. In TABAC, business process is composed by activities and dynamic permissions are related to tasks. Task permissions can be dynamically assigned to processes during the interaction of activities. A SOAP based interaction protocol is also proposed to transmit task permissions between processes. Finally, we describe the implementation of TABAC model in workflow management system which conforms to the XACML and WS-BPEL specifications.
 
Article
This paper presents the development of a remote-access control system which allows users to perform control experiments through Internet. A dc motor control module is used as an example to illustrate our design. The system is composed of an internal distributed system and an application system linked by a data acquisition (DAQ) interface card. Web server, video server and Laboratory Virtual Instrument Engineering Workbench (LabVIEW) controller server are designed based on a client–server structure. The experiment can be accessed from http://www.acae.cuhk.edu.hk/∼accl/ibc/.
 
Article
Secure information sharing is one of key factors for success of virtual enterprise (VE). The study identifies the characteristics of a VE and analyzes the requirements of a VE access control. A Virtual Enterprise Access Control (VEAC) model is proposed to handle resource management and sharing across each participating enterprise, which consists of a Project-based Access Control (PBAC) sub-model to manage public resources and a Role-based Access Control (RBAC) sub-model to manage private resources. The architecture of a VEAC model-based system is developed and consists of three core mechanisms including the Virtual Enterprise Access Control Center (VEACC), Security Gatekeeper (SG) and Global Certificate Authority Center (GCAC). Based on the system architecture, the study proposes certificate authentication, user authority and access control approaches to identify user's identity on-line, update and search user authority lists, and access private and public resources. The results of this study will facilitate more secure resource sharing, and overcome cooperation barrier from trust among participating enterprises in VE.
 
Article
This paper reports on the development of Networked Inventory Management Information Systems (NIMISs). These are distributed and object-oriented information systems for integral inventory management across networked organisations. The desired functionality of the systems is networked inventory management, which is the combination of integral inventory management (according to Base Stock Control, Materials Requirements Planning and Line Requirements Planning) and networked organisation management (including configuration flexibility, timing flexibility and algorithm flexibility). The systems exploit distributed object technology, using both distributed systems (with principles as local computing, heterogeneous computing and transparent computing) and object-oriented technology (characterised by object classification, attribute encapsulation and operation invocation). The system design is created with the help of the Object Modeling Technique (OMT) and consists of an object model, a dynamic model and a functional model. For the system implementation the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) is applied.
 
Article
FAUST 3 is an Expert System for diagnosing faults occurring in an electricity supply network. Its task is to diagnose, in real-time, faults which happen on a large and highly interconnected network comprising items of equipment of several types. A complex representation of the network as a collection of `objects' is the means by which diagnosis is made possible. The system performs its diagnosis by means of a `constrained generate and test' approach. Hypotheses are formed, and then examined to find the one most likely to account for the available evidence. The system uses causal reasoning, heuristic knowledge and techniques such as the use of blackboards for communication amongst system modules.
 
Article
The development and use of information systems as instruments of organizational competitive strategy are becoming key factors in today's business environment. Industries have recognized the fact that information systems will increase their organizations' competitiveness and overall profitability. However, a number of organizations have also recognized that before information systems can be developed and used effectively, there must first be a throrough understanding of the business opportunities available. Once these organizations have clearly recognized and defined these opportunities, they must then implement the tools and methodologies to help develop an information system which will assist them in enhancing their competitive strategy.
 
Article
Reliably and effectively detecting and classifying leather surface defects are of great importance to both the tanneries and industries that use leather as a main raw material such as leather footwear and handbag manufacturers. This paper discusses some important issues on inspecting leather surfaces using the Machine Vision System. These investigations include defect detection algorithms, defect classification methods, material handling, and other aspects that are associated with this research. The proposed visual inspection system is capable of inspecting leather surfaces automatically. The expected advantages of using such system in the real production environment are also analysed.
 
Article
Holonic manufacturing is a concept of considerable promise in terms of providing the flexibility and responsiveness required by virtual enterprises. However if this promise is to be realised then two key issues need to be addressed. Firstly, migration strategies need to be developed to enable existing manufacturing systems which use conventional controller technology to progressively incorporate holonic manufacturing concepts. Secondly, holonic manufacturing principles need to be applied and integrated at all levels of the production planning and control process. In this paper, our primary concern is the first issue—we present and evaluate the technical feasibility of a strategy for the incremental introduction of holonic manufacturing principles into existing production control systems. We believe that the approach that we present, through its adoption of a strong part and task execution focus, will provide a sound platform for addressing the second issue.
 
Article
Nowadays, semantic integration constitutes an important approach to deal with heterogeneity within large and dynamic enterprises. Currently, the existing solutions are mainly based on the use of some standards and also middlewares in order to overcome the integration problem. These solutions generally fail as they do not scale to large number of applications and also fail as they do not provide more flexibility and agility. Here, solutions based on semantic web services are promising and they are being actively researched. The paper outlines the potential role that these technologies can offer in solving some key challenges such as semantic mediation and interoperation. In particular, the paper proposes a flexible approach called ODSOI (Ontology-Driven Service-Oriented Integration) that combines both service-oriented architectures and ontologies and that aims to deal correctly with some application integration issues.
 
Article
This paper presents a multi-agent system for knowledge management (KM) in research and development (R&D) projects. R&D teams have no time to organize project information, nor to articulate the rationale behind the actions that generated the information. Our aim is to provide a system for helping team members to explicit knowledge, and to allow them to share their experiences, i.e. lessons learned (LL), without asking them too much extra-work. The article focuses on how we intend to help the team members to feed the system with LL, using the operations they perform on desktop computers, and how we intend to exploit the LL by using a case-based reasoning engine. We have been developing a prototype of such a KM system for a cooperative project.
 
Article
Data Acquisition Systems (DAS) are used widely in the industry; they are playing an increasingly significant role in improving productivity. In this paper, we try to make a survey of the current development of data acquisition technology. The various practical considerations in applying DAS are summarised, and some feasible areas of advanced applications are investigated.
 
Article
In this paper key components in an intelligent product are defined and an associated intelligent product model is formulated. In this model, each product is equipped with an Intelligent Data Unit that connects to a regional back-end service enabler over the Communication Support Infrastructure (e.g. Internet) for lifecycle data transmission. An Intelligent Data Unit is a hardware device that consists of sensors, a controller, memory and data communication interface, which can be embedded into the product to acquire the lifecycle data. A service enabler is a software agent that receives the lifecycle data, and uses it to enable services and provide useful information and knowledge. The analysis and design of a service enabler is described, and a prototype service enabler is developed. It has been demonstrated in field trials that intelligent products built in this way can enable suitable product-related services.
 
Article
Data acquisition systems (DASs) are the basis for building monitoring tools that enable the supervision of local and remote systems. DASs are complex systems. It is difficult for developers to compare proprietary generic DAS products and/or standards, and the design of a specific DAS is costly. In this paper, we propose a conceptual model of a generic DAS. This model gives DAS developers an abstraction of DASs; it enables them to compare existing products and standards; and it provides the DAS developers that aim to develop a specific DAS with a starting point for the design of a specific DAS. We have found that a conceptual model of a generic system has many advantages. We propose patterns and techniques that are useful for the development of conceptual models of generic systems.
 
Article
Domestic appliances are long-lived and relatively expensive products that come under the new EC electrical waste recovery directive. In the UK, washing machines in particular tend to be unreliable; increasing the reuse of components could improve the economics of end-of-life operations. Trends in appliance design are towards more sophisticated control and networking; this makes adding functions to record data on the use of the machines feasible. The data would also have value for life cycle environmental assessment.This paper reports on the development of self-contained data acquisition units for washing machines based on a microcontroller and non-volatile memory. The data has applications in design, marketing and servicing as well as end-of-life. A batch of units have been manufactured and tested on limited field trials in washing machines. Ten parameters are continuously monitored, timed and/or recorded during appliance operation; error conditions are also logged for use during servicing. The data is then downloaded, either during servicing or at end-of-life; the dynamic data from use is combined with static data from manufacture. The information system which links all parties interested in the data is the key aspect of life cycle data acquisition.Two models are described which evaluate the economic benefits of adding such functions to products: a steady-state model as used by previous authors who were concerned with end-of-life product treatment and a more sophisticated transient model that accurately reflects the limited life of designs. Results show that in this case, more reusable components arise from servicing rather than from end-of-life recovery of parts. The cost savings from increased reuse are also estimated to be comparable to the additional cost of the system; greater savings could well arise from the use of the use data in marketing.
 
Article
The aim of this paper is to describe an annotation model based around design representations. The model tends to promote more successful co-operation between design actors and enables more systematic knowledge sharing. Our annotation model is a set of digital artefacts, which have a semantic dimension. These artefacts aim to improve the design communication through the elicitation of knowledge about the context. We develop a linguistics pragmatics approach, based on Speech Act Theory to characterise annotations in design co-operation. By following the utterance and illocutionary force concepts, we develop locutionary and illocutionary annotation acts concepts. Then, we present an information model on the basis of these concepts. Finally, we propose functionalities for an annotation tool based on our approach.
 
Article
Integration of information and manufacturing systems is one of the great achievements of Enterprise Modelling. However, new factors, such as the fast evolution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) or the need to set up alliances among different types of enterprises quickly in order to benefit from market opportunities, are causing new types of problems, like interoperability, to appear in the Enterprise Modelling context. This paper shows how a model-driven approach can be useful to solve interoperability problems using model transformations. In particular, the transformation of GRAI Extended Actigrams into UML Activity Diagrams is explored using three different model transformation tools.
 
Article
Due to the increasing amount of collaborative work in engineering, it is now necessary to create environments that foster the coordination and cooperation among engineering groups. The aim of this paper is to present a methodology to design and integrate ‘Collaborative Engineering Environments’ supported by tools that enable cooperative work and intellectual capital sharing. The resulting methodology to create ‘Collaborative Engineering Environments’ was developed and refined through a set of action research cycles applied to three case studies. The experiences and reflections of every case are described to contribute to a better understanding of how collaborative environments should be built up.
 
Top-cited authors
Paul Valckenaers
H. Van Brussel
François B Vernadat
  • University of Lorraine, France, Metz
Jan Holmström
  • Aalto University
Guy Doumeingts
  • Université Bordeaux 1