A flexible control system for flexible manufacturing systems
Scott, Wesley Dane
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A flexible workcell controller has been developed using a three level control hierarchy (workcell, workstation, equipment). The cell controller is automatically generated from a model input by the user. The model consists of three sets of graphs. One set of graphs describes the process plans of the parts produced by the manufacturing system, one set describes movements into, out of and within workstations, and the third set describes movements of parts/transporters between workstations. The controller uses an event driven Petri net to maintain state information and to communicate with lower level controllers. The control logic is contained in an artificial neural network. The Petri net state information is used as the input to the neural net and messages that are Petri net events are output from the neural net. A genetic algorithm was used to search over alternative operation choices to find a "good" solution. The system was fully implemented and several test cases are described.