Computer-Aided Reconfiguration Planning: An Artificial Intelligence-Based Approach

[+] Author and Article Information
Li Tang, Yoram Koren, Wencai Wang

 University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Derek M. Yip-Hoi

 University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., V6T 1Z4, Canada

J. Comput. Inf. Sci. Eng 6(3), 230-240 (Feb 20, 2006) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2218369 History: Received November 23, 2004; Revised February 20, 2006

The manufacturing industry today faces a highly volatile market in which manufacturing systems must be capable of responding rapidly to market changes while fully exploiting existing resources. Reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMS) are designed for this purpose and are gradually being deployed by many mid-to-large volume manufacturers. The advent of RMS has given rise to a challenging problem, namely, how to economically and efficiently reconfigure a manufacturing system and the reconfigurable hardware within it so that the system can meet new requirements. This paper presents a solution to this problem that models the reconfigurability of a RMS as a network of potential activities and configurations to which a shortest path graph-searching strategy is applied. Two approaches using the A* algorithm and a genetic algorithm are employed to perform this search for the reconfiguration plan and reconfigured system that best satisfies the new performance goals. This search engine is implemented within an AI-based computer-aided reconfiguration planning (CARP) framework, which is designed to assist manufacturing engineers in making reconfiguration planning decisions. Two planning problems serve as examples to prove the effectiveness of the CARP framework.

Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

The configuration of a RMS

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Figure 2

A multispindle RMT

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Figure 3

A three-fingered RFS

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Figure 4

AI-based CARP framework

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Figure 5

A hybrid plan-generation algorithm

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Figure 6

Analogy to a shortest path graph-search problem

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Figure 7

Implementation of a CARP prototype application

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Figure 8

Reconfigure the RMT in the case 3

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Figure 9

Multispindle reconfigurable machine tool

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Figure 10

Reconfiguring the RMS in case 8

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Figure 11

A list structure representation of a plan

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Figure 12

Optimality comparison between A* and GA

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Figure 13

Computation time comparison between A* and GA



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