Cell Controllers: Analysis and Comparison of Three Major Projects
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There is a critical need to achieve Computer Integrated Manufacturing, to link the factory-level functions (Product Design, Process Planning and Manufacturing Resource Planning) with the manufacturing functions (Parts Manufacturing, Product Assembly, and Quality Control). The primary functions performed by this link for all jobs issued to the shop floor, (i.e. all the parts to be manufactured in a specified period of time) include: i) the allocation of resources (machines, material handling devices, etc), and ii) the scheduling of tasks (manufacturing operations, material transfers, etc.). This paper defines these functions and presents the different methods that have been proposed to solve the associated problems. It provides analysis and a critical comparison of the current research at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, formerly NBS), European Strategic Program for Research and Development in Information Technology (ESPRIT, Project 932), and Computer Aided Manufacturing International (CAM-i) concerning Planning, Scheduling and Control at the Shop-Floor level.