A Method and Application to Simulate and Validate Manufacturing Control Systems Based on a Discrete Manufacturing Simulation Platform
This paper presents a method and an example application developed to simulate and validate distributed control systems. Using the application, the devices modelled in the manufacturing simulation system, are automatically exposed to the control system with a high level interface similar to the real devices. The devices, including the robots and transport system, can then be transparently operated from the control system as if they were the real devices.
The solution is based on a commercial discrete manufacturing simulation platform called 3DCreateTM from Visual Component, a thin custom interface layer dubbed VCHMS and a multi-agent (holonic) middleware called IceHMS. The VCHMS software communicates in real-time with 3DCreateTM and exposes selected objects and signals to the holonic control system and is also able to translate messages from the holonic system to 3DCreateTM signals.
In addition to its emulation capability, the presented solution has the decisive advantage to reuse the simulation model which is often created earlier for discrete event simulation. The solution has enabled the emulation of a complete production line at GKN Aerospace Norway. The virtual line has been tested and the solution will enable the development and validation of different control strategies from simple pull based systems to complete holonic manufacturing control systems.
KeywordsHolonic Manufacturing System Multi-Agent System Simulation Discrete Manufacturing
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