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Formalizing Information-Integration for Manufacturing Systems


Chadha, B.; Fulton, R.E. (1993) International Journal Computer Applications in Technology, Vol. 6, No. 4, 202-214.


Computer integrated manufacturing, Mathematical models, Materials handling, Systems science, Industrial management, Data model, Formalization, Information integration, Integration model


Manufacturing systems becoming increasingly complex and often involve a wide range of functions that are multidisciplinary in nature. Integration efforts for these systems are often carried out in ad-hoc fashion. This has been primarily due to lack of formalization and structured frameworks. This paper discusses the issues involved in the information integration of material handling design activities as well as material handling nature of the integration problem and to develop strategies for better information integration. The case studies have helped in defining a generic integration model (GIM) and a a generic software framework for integration of various aspects of material handling. The GIM formalizes the information-integration process and provides definitions and axioms to help achieve it. Shared information is identified through protocol analysis and data modelling techniques. Two case studies are discussed, the first involving the integration of several MH design functions : plant layout, layout optimization, automated storage and retrieval system design, automated guided vehicle system design, and simulation. The second case study involves the integrated manufacture of optical fibre products. The functions studied include: order processing and shipping, product tracking, quality control and testing, scheduling, and inventory control. The case studies are then used to evaluate the proposed model. It is seen that the case studies validate the assumptions and the concepts proposed in the model.