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An Information-Driven Approach To Design/Manufacturing Integration (Manufacturing)


Chadha, Bipin (1992) Doctoral Thesis, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta.


Engineering functions require large amounts of complex interdisciplinary information to effectively perform their tasks. Current trends will make these functions more information dependent. Information management is therefore critical for the competitiveness of any engineering enterprise. Different processes/functions in a manufacturing environment should be able to access and exchange relevant information with the rest of the system. This research is to develop and validate an information driven approach to manufacturing integration, to formalize information-integration, and to develop and validate a framework to facilitate information integration.

A case study approach has been used to clarify and prioritize research goals. The case studies and literature are used to define a set of requirements for information integration. A specific application domain is selected for study and a prototype system is developed. The requirements and the concepts are validated against the case studies. New concepts are proposed to overcome the deficiencies identified in the prototype systems. Three case studies were performed, the first involving the integration of several material handling functions, the second involving integration of two knowledge sources via a common information base, and the third involving integrated manufacture of optical fiber products. The third case study led to development of an actual in-plant integrated system currently in operation.

The framework proposed and validated in this thesis provides a unified platform for data management, constraint management, control, and user-interface capabilities. Key components of the framework include a common user interface, application programs, a database management system, a knowledge based system, a data dictionary, and pre- and post-processors for data. A new information management layer has been added that provides functionality (constraint management, exception management, etc.) needed to integrate different applications. An integration model is proposed that formalizes information integration and its basic components. The model provides a formal basis for the framework, constraint/exception management methodologies, and the goodness measures. An implementation methodology has been developed and validated that addresses the needs of manufacturing systems. A preliminary information model for Material Handling was defined that reduces data pre- and post-processing. Methodologies for constraint and exception management and specification were developed that provide semantics and information models needed for application development. An information theoretic approach has been developed to measure the goodness of several aspects of information integration. The measures were found to provide intuitively correct results. The framework and the methodologies were validated in case study applications and showed that the integration concepts were needed and valid, and that further research should be carried out in follow on investigations.


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