Doctoral College Cyber-Physical Production Systems at TU Wien
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Details

Development in information technology has led, in the area of discrete manufacturing, to computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) systems, though they struggle with stiff hierarchical control architectures. To be able to respond to changing market demands, the concept of Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMS) seems to be a proper way. Although it faces challenges, as a lack of flexible communication infrastructure and a complexity of implementing configuration changes in existing application software. 

To overcome those limitations, we aim to integrate the concepts of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) into the factory automation domain. The usage of SOA intends to ease integration and programming of automation components.

The two basic aspects of this approach are to standardize communication interfaces and to encapsulate mechatronic functions. Both aspects enable high flexibility and improve complexity control. 

Basic equipment functions that execute and monitor represent basic services, which can be composed to control the production process. Typical operations at the equipment level are openClamp() or startNC(). In order to use those operations consistently, business semantics are required. Coarse-grained operations can take over this role. startMachineLoadingProcess() for example, would include composed services like openDoor(), openClamp(), movePart(), etc.

The orchestration of services will not be defined as fixed actions, which were mapped to specific devices, but rather as a workflow including decision nodes. Decision making will not only be based on device or controller information, but also on ERP or MES. For implementing decision-making entities, a Multi-Agent System (MAS) with proper connectivity to SOA might be a good choice.

Realizing an agent technology in industrial environment faces challenges due to the need of integrating agents into the physical equipment, which leads us to OPC UA.

OPC Unified Architecture (OPC UA) is a web service based interoperability standard developed by the OPC Foundation. OPC UA defines generic services and seems to be capable to serve as a SOA-based middleware for a Multi-Agent System.

The research within this topic will focus on:

  • Developing a domain model for robotized manufacturing cells
  • Design a control architecture by integrating MAS and SOA based on OPC UA as portable SOA middleware

These activities will use the findings of the ongoing research project OPC4Factory (Fig. above). This cross-faculty project is being carried out by the Institute for Production Engineering and Laser Technology and Institute of Computer Aided Automation. It aims to develop a generic OPC UA information model for components of a flexible manufacturing cell, and to improve connectivity between those components and the overlaying cell controller. The semantic interfaces provided by the information models shall ease the configuration and reconfiguration.

PhD-Student and Supervision

PhD-Student: Solmaz Mansour Fallah M. Sc.

Solmaz Mansour Fallah finished a Master program for Mechanical Engineering/Management with distinction at TU Wien. Her Master thesis was concluded at the Institute for Production Engineering and Laser Technology. It dealt with the possibility of automation for an existing manufacturing system, by taking its specific limitations into account. The Master thesis emphasized her focused study on automation, manufacturing system and robotics.

Besides her studies she was employed at a local engine production plant in the fields of production engineering and technical project management. This working experience raised her strong interest in exploring the field of automated production, especially the complexity of multi-agent systems for industrial automation.

Supervision:

Advisor: Prof. Dr. Friedrich Bleicher, Institute for Production Engineering and Laser Technology (E311)

Co-Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Burkhard Kittl, Institute for Production Engineering and Laser Technology (E311)