Performance analysis of flexible manufacturing cells (W.M. Zuberek)

Flexible manufacturing systems are discrete-event systems composed of (i) a set of versatile machines, (ii) an automatic transportation system, and (iii) a decision-making system which determines what has to be done, when and where. Machines are often grouped into manufacturing cells (or robotic cells), in which a robot performs sequences of pickup, move, load, unload and drop operations, transporting the manufactured parts from one machine of the cell to another. The throughput of the cell depends on the sequence of robot activities as well as on the sequence in which different parts enter the cell. The problem of maximizing the throughput of a robotic cell can thus be considered as a scheduling problem.

The behavior of flexible manufacturing cells is represented by events and activities; events correspond to changes of system's states while activities correspond to operations performed by the machines and the robot. The objective of this research is to develop timed Petri net models of flexible manufacturing cells and to use these models for optimizing robot scheduling strategies. Dr. W. Kubiak, Faculty of Business Administration, has been collaborating in this project.

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Revised: 1997.11.20