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A User-Friendly Approach for Applying Multi-Agent Technology in Plug & Produce Systems
University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems. (PTW)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7683-7662
2020 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)Alternative title
En användarvänlig strategi för att tillämpa multiagentteknologi för Plug & Produce (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

This thesis presents methods for simplifying the use of multi-agent systems in Plug & Produce. The demand for customized products and low volume production is constantly increasing. The industry has for many years used dedicated manufacturing systems where it is difficult and expensive to adapt to new product designs. Instead, factories are forced to use human workers for certain tasks that demand high flexibility and rapid adaption for new product designs. Several solutions have been proposed over the years to create highly flexible automation systems that automatically handles rapid adaption for new products. A concept called Plug & Produce aims at creating a system where resources and parts can be added in minutes rather than days in dedicated systems. One promising solution for implementing Plug & Produce is the distributed approach called multi-agent systems, where each resource and part get its own controller that communicates with each other to reach manufacturing goals. The idea is that the system automatically handles the adaption for new products. However, still today the use of such systems is extremely limited in the industry. One reason is the lack of mature multi-agent systems that are easy to use and that hides the complexity of the underlying agent system from the users. This is a huge problem since these systems tend to be more complex than traditional approaches. Thus, this thesis focuses on simplifying the use of multi-agent systems by proposing various methods for bringing the multi-agent technology for Plug & Produce closer to the industry.

Abstract [sv]

Denna avhandling presenterar metoder för att förenkla användningen av multiagent-system för Plug & Produce. Efterfrågan på kundanpassade produkter och lågvolymproduktion ökar ständigt. Industrin har under många år använt sig avdedikerade tillverkningssystem som gör det både svårt och dyrt att anpassa sig till nya produktdesigner. Istället tvingas fabriker att antälla onödigt många operatörer för vissa arbetsuppgifter där det krävs hög flexibilitet och snabb anpassning till nya produktdesigner. Flera lösningar har föreslagits under åren för att skapa flexibla automatiseringssystem som automatiskt hanterar snabb omställning till nya produkter. Ett koncept som heter Plug & Produce handlar om att skapa system där nya typer av resurser och produkter kan kopplas in i systemet på ett fåtal minuter snarare än dagar i traditionella system. För att implementera Plug & Produce kan multi-agent-system användas, där varje resurs och produkt får sin egen styrning. Agenterna kan sedan kommunicera med varandra för att nå de mål som satts upp för tillverkningen av produkterna. Tanken är att systemet automatiskt hanterar anpassningen till nya produkter. Idag är dock användningen av sådana system extremt begränsad i industrin. En av anledningarna är avsaknaden av mogna multi-agent-system som är lätta att använda och där komplexiteten hos det underliggande agensystemet kan döljas från användaren.

Detta är ett stort problem eftersom multi-agent-system tenderar att vara mer komplexa än traditionella system. Därför fokuserar denna avhandling på att förenkla användningen av multi-agent-system genom att föreslå olika metoder som kan underlätta användandet av multi-agent-tekniken för Plug & Produce i industrin.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Trollhättan: University West , 2020. , p. 49
Series
Licentiate Thesis: University West ; 29
Keywords [en]
Multi-agent system, Plug & Produce, Process plans, Planning
Keywords [sv]
Multiagentsystem, Plug & Produce, Processplaner, Planering
National Category
Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics
Research subject
Production Technology; ENGINEERING, Quality management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-15181ISBN: 978-91-88847-61-4 (print)ISBN: 978-91-88847-60-7 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hv-15181DiVA, id: diva2:1433766
Presentation
2020-06-02, 10:00 (English)
Supervisors
Available from: 2020-06-02 Created: 2020-06-01 Last updated: 2020-10-14
List of papers
1. Identification of resources and parts in a Plug and Produce system using OPC UA
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Identification of resources and parts in a Plug and Produce system using OPC UA
2019 (English)In: Procedia Manufacturing, E-ISSN 2351-9789, Vol. 38, p. 858-865Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper describes a method together with an implementation for automating the detection, identification and configuration of newly added resources and parts in a Plug and Produce system using OPC UA. In a Plug and Produce system, resources and parts are usually controlled by agents, forming a multi-agent system of collaborating resources. Hence, when a resource or part is connected to the system, a corresponding agent must be instantiated and associated with that specific device. In order to automate this, the system needs information about newly connected devices. This information could, for example, be positional data describing where the device is connected. Some devices like tools and parts to be processed have no own network connection, but still, they should get an agent with correct configuration instantiated. In this work, OPC UA is used for communication between devices and the corresponding agents. All agents and their communication are handled by an Agent Handling System, consisting of an OPC UA HUB together with functions for device detection and agent instantiation. The HUB is used for transferring data between devices and their agents in the network by OPC UA protocols. When a device is connected to the network, it is detected, and a connection is automatically created to the HUB that becomes configured for transmitting data between the device and its corresponding agent. © 2019 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/)

Keywords
OPC UA, Multi-agent, Industry 4.0, Smart Factory, Plug, Produce
National Category
Computer Sciences Other Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering, Information Engineering Control Engineering
Research subject
ENGINEERING, Computer engineering; Production Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:hv:diva-15158 (URN)10.1016/j.promfg.2020.01.167 (DOI)2-s2.0-85083532613 (Scopus ID)
Conference
29th International Conference on Flexible Automation and Intelligent Manufacturing, FAIM 2019; Limerick; Ireland; 24 June 2019 through 28 June 2019
Available from: 2020-05-04 Created: 2020-05-04 Last updated: 2023-01-05Bibliographically approved

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Bennulf, Mattias

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