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  • 1.
    Khabbazi, Mahmood Reza
    et al.
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Danielsson, Fredrik
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Bennulf, Mattias
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Ramasamy, Sudha
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Nilsson, Anders
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Model-based Plug & Produce in Assembly Automation2023In: 2023 IEEE 28th International Conference on Emerging Technologies and Factory Automation (ETFA): 12-15 September 2023, IEEE, 2023, Vol. 2023-SeptemberConference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Manual assembly systems are featured with high flexibility but with the risk of lower quality, higher cycle time, inefficient resource employment, and affecting sustainability goals in comparison to fully automated ones. Conventional automated assembly is challenged by the desired level of flexibility when compared to what automation through Plug & Produce system represents. Plug and Produce, during the last few decades aimed at addressing highly flexible automation systems handling rapid changes and adaptations as one dominant solution. Multi-agent System (MAS) as a tool to handle different areas of manufacturing control systems can be used in Plug & Produce representing every physical control entity (e.g., parts, resources) as agents. This article aims to describe a model-based configurable multi-agent design in Plug and Produce system together with a prototype implementation of the actual automated assembly use case of a kitting operation highlighting flexibility and reconfigurability and the model functionality. A model-based approach with a few models using UML standards describes the structure and behavior of the system. Model instantiation is introduced and followed by real prototype use case implementation. The use case study of advanced automated kitting operation in the assembly automation domain has been selected. Agent-based operation control systems have been applied during the assembly process. The evaluation was accomplished by testing several scenarios on Plug & Produce for kitting operation. To conclude, several desirable functionality features of the framework during the demonstration such as rapid instantiation and adaptation, and in particular, the flexibility features have been examined and evaluated with several failure-handling testing scenarios. © 2023 IEEE.

  • 2.
    Nilsson, Anders
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Human-centric process planningfor Plug & Produce: Digital threads connecting product design withautomated manufacturing2023Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Adaptations to a fluctuating market and intensified customer demands for unique products are a challenge for manufacturers. Manual manufacturing is still the most flexible, nevertheless, automation ensures stable quality, minimizes wear and tear of the operators, and contributes to a safer and better working environment as the distance between the operator and the process can be increased and screened off. Hence, the manufacturing industry is searching for human-centric automation solutions that are flexible enough to handle these challenges. Conventional automation is tailored for one or a few similar variants of products, in addition, increased flexibility implies increased complexity to handle. This licentiate thesis demonstrates a flexible Plug & Produce automated manufacturing concept where the complexity is redirected to focus on the products and manufacturing processes by utilizing artificial intelligence. Together with digital threads that connect the product design to automatic manufacturing that enables manufacturing companies to manage new production scenarios with their in-house knowledge. Data is picked directly from the computer-based design of the products and process knowledge that normally exists within the manufacturing company is added through graphical user interfaces. The graphical configuration tools visualize the flow of sequential and parallel manufacturing operations together with process-bound information. Plug & Produce relies on pluggable process modules with re-cyclical manufacturing resources that can be plugged in and out as needed. As an example, a module with a robot can be plugged in to help an existing robot and thereby balance the production capacity. In Plug & Produce resources start working and cooperate with other resources automatically when they are plugged in. To achieve this, the resources are provided with distributed artificial intelligence together with intelligent products that know how to be finalized. In this concept, everything is digitally configurable by the in-house knowledge of the manufacturing companies. A Plug & Produce test bed was built to verify the concept in cooperation with industrial representatives.

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    Licentiat
  • 3.
    Nilsson, Anders
    et al.
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Danielsson, Fredrik
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Bennulf, Mattias
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Svensson, Bo
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    A Classification of Different Levels of Flexibility in an Automated Manufacturing System and Needed Competence2021In: Towards Sustainable Customization: Bridging Smart Products and Manufacturing Systems: Proceedings of the 8th Changeable, Agile, Reconfigurable and Virtual Production Conference (CARV2021) and the 10th World Mass Customization & Personalization Conference (MCPC2021), Aalborg, Denmark, October/November 2021 / [ed] Ann-Louise Andersen, Rasmus Andersen, Thomas Ditlev Brunoe, Maria Stoettrup Schioenning Larsen, Kjeld Nielsen, Alessia Napoleone, Stefan Kjeldgaard, Springer Science and Business Media Deutschland GmbH , 2021, p. 27-34Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Mass customization has become more attractive but requires a transformation towards more flexible solutions in contrast to dedicated manufacturing systems. Flexibility includes complex tasks such as the introduction of new products or new manufacturing processes as well as to efficiently handle daily balancing. The main challenge when it comes to flexibility in manufacturing is to be able to handle the technical aspects and still be competitive. In this article we consider the cost for flexibility to include two main things; (1) setup time, e.g., time for planning, design, programming and configuration, installation, ramp-up, scrapping of old equipment, preparation of facility, hardware installation, and (2) need of competence, inhouse knowledge, external competence, or external expert competence. This article presents an overview of available solutions and the level of flexibility and the level of competence that is needed for a reconfiguration one can expect out of a specific solution. Further, most of the existing solutions found do not consider or address the full problem of flexibility. However, we describe a possible future of industrial concept: Plug & Produce, which can address flexibility within manufacturing more completely and sustainably over time. Methods for configuration instead of programming are developed by University West. 

  • 4.
    Nilsson, Anders
    et al.
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Danielsson, Fredrik
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Svensson, Bo
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Customization and flexible manufacturing capacity using a graphical method applied on a configurable multi-agent system2023In: Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, ISSN 0736-5845, E-ISSN 1879-2537, Vol. 79, article id 102450Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This article proposes a Plug & Produce and goal-oriented configurable multi-agent system that admits adding and removing resources to balance the manufacturing capacity without doing any digital reconfiguration or reprogramming. To handle that a new part-agent strategy is developed and described. Goals are central in designing autonomous multi-agent systems, possibilities to execute goals in parallel are desirable when the process requirements admit concurrent use of resources. Also, a standardized graphical method, the sequence of goals chart, is proposed to define and visualize parallel and sequential goals independently of available resources. Premanufacturing of wooden houses belongs to one of many manufacturing industries that claim flexible automation systems due to the high degree of customized products and a fluctuating market. A physical Plug & Produce robot-based workstation was built up to verify the flexibility in altering capacity and adoption to product modifications of a house wall section. Further, the simplicity of modifying the proposed configurable multi-agent system was compared to more traditionally designed systems and plain multi-agent systems with superior results. The flexibility is built into the proposed system by default as a part of the concept, simple enough to be handled by existing in-house knowledge within manufacturing companies. 

    Download full text (pdf)
    fulltext
  • 5.
    Nilsson, Anders
    et al.
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Danielsson, Fredrik
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    Svensson, Bo
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Production Systems.
    From CAD to Plug & Produce: A generic structure for the integration of standard industrial robots into agents2023In: The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, ISSN 0268-3768, E-ISSN 1433-3015, Vol. 128, no 11-12, p. 5249-5260Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Industries of low-batches or one-of manufacturing aim for automation that is competitive enough to adapt to new or modifed products daily through in-house knowledge that focuses on manufacturing processes and not on machine function programming. To solve this, a complete set of actions that utilize seamless data transfer from product design in CAD to a Plug & Produce automation concept is proposed together with a generic structure for the integration of standard industrial robots into agents. This structure enables agents to handle their local reference coordinate systems and locations relative to a global perspective. Seamless utilization of data from product designs to Plug & Produce will simplify and shorten the time of digital development through concurrently usable text-based and graphical confguration tools of a confgurable multi-agent system. Needed data extracts directly from the product design as requirements of operational goals. Extraction of data from the product design, sequence of goals, and process plans, which are recipes of how to solve goals, can by this concept be confgured by in-house knowledge that has the process knowledge but not necessarily programming competence.

    Download full text (pdf)
    fulltext
  • 6.
    Svensson, Bo
    et al.
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Automation and Computer Engineering.
    Nilsson, Anders
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Automation and Computer Engineering.
    Danielsson, Fredrik
    University West, Department of Engineering Science, Division of Automation and Computer Engineering.
    P-SOP Agent Generator for Flexible Manufacturing2013In: Lecture Notes in Mechanical Engineering, ISSN 2195-4356, E-ISSN 2195-4364, Vol. 7, p. 341-353Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In a flexible manufacturing industry the production planner may need to make an updated description of the control strategy every day. The description contains all possible routing paths and is based on actual circumstances. It varies depending on, e.g., rebalancing due to market changes, scheduling of available operators, introduction of new parts, and rerouting due to a machine break down or planned service. A Part oriented Sequence of Operation (P-SOP) description language has been formulated to assist the production planner to be able to handle these flexible manufacturing scenarios. Multi-agents to control the manufacturing are automatically generated from the P-SOP description language. The P-SOP agent generator creates IEC 61131-3 PLC code that can be executed on standard PLC’s. An agent consists of a head, a communicator and a body. The head and the communicator are the automatically generated part with a predefined interface against the physical body, e.g., the mechanical/electrical structure of a robot. This feature eliminates the need for an external expert in PLC programming. The head contains many small sub-sequences for all operations that are defined for the specific body. The purpose of the communicator is to communicate with surrounding neighbour agents to form a multi-agent system. The formulated language and the P-SOP agent generator has been successfully tested and evaluated in an industrial environment.

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