In order to respond to a rapidly changing manufacturing environment and market, manufacturing systems must be flexible, adaptable, and reusable. The fractal manufacturing system (FrMS) is one of the new manufacturing paradigms that address the need for these characteristics. The FrMS is comprised of a number of "basic components", each of which consists of five functional modules: (1) an observer, (2) an analyzer, (3) an organizer, (4) a resolver, and (5) a reporter. Each of these modules, using agent technology, autonomously cooperates and negotiates with others while processing its own jobs. The resulting architecture has a high degree of self-similarity, one of the main characteristics of a fractal. Despite the many conceptual advantages of the FrMS, it has not been successfully elaborated and implemented to date because of the difficulties involved in doing so. In this paper, the static functions and dynamic activities of each agent are modeled using the unified modeling language (UML). Then, relationships among agents, working mechanisms of each agent, and several fractal-specific characteristics (self-similarity, self-organization, and goal-orientation) are modeled using the UML. Then, a method for dealing with several types of information such as products, orders, and resources in the FrMS is presented. Finally, a preliminary prototype for the FrMS using Aglets™ is presented.
- Agent technology
- Fractal manufacturing system (FrMS)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computer Science(all)