A Schema for Flexile Equipment Control in Manufacturing Systems
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In this work a methodology is proposed for increasing the flexibility of the control software of Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMSs). This greater flexibility is required due to factors such as uncertain product demand, uneven distribution of shop load, and machine or cutting tool unavailability. In the proposed framework the following modules were developed: (a) an automated process planning module which generates non-linear process plans for a given part, considering the shop floor resource availability; the non-linear plans include both material handling and material processing information; (b) a planning module that linearises the process plan aiming at minimising the total manufacturing time of the parts; (c) a NC program generation module, which generates the NC program for the chosen CNC machine(s). In order to increase the flexibility of the control software even more, a resource model was devised and implemented, which provides the necessary resource information for the above modules. Each of these modules is described within this paper, and details about the part and process plan representation necessary for this implementation are also given. A case study is presented in order to show the capability of the methodology.
Keywords:FMS control; Manufacturing features; NC program generation; Process planning; Resources
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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2001