Workplan

The whole project will last 36 months and it is organised in 8 Work-Packages (WP).

In the WP1 the multi-agent architecture will be defined. First of all an analysis of the characteristics and of the requirements of multi-agent architecture for line-production systems and production ondemand (including the description of the production process) will be performed in order to define the multi-agent architecture that integrates process and quality control and exhibits adaptation and self-organization features. This WP also comprises the development of the multi-agent infrastructure according to the requirements and specifications defined in the first two tasks.

The following two work packages have the objectives to develop specific functions assigned to the agents, such as the self-adaptation/self-optimization of control behaviour and of quality control. The structure of the agents is generic and they differentiate each others for the functions that they perform. WP2 and WP3 run for a large time in parallel with WP1; this is done because a continuous updating of the multi-agent architecture will take place thanks to the progress in developing the specific functions of the agents.
In particular, the WP2 will have the objective to develop self-adaptation and self-optimization at different levels in various processes all across the factory, at local and factory level. At local level the self-adapting and self-optimizing mechanisms will be applied to resource allocation and resource and product parameters optimization. At global level self-adaptation and self-optimization will be used for supervisory control and decision making.
In the WP3 the Testing and Quality Control functions will be analyzed and developed into modular and self-optimizing agents. A general definition of the testing and quality functions will be elaborated, followed by a more specific adaptation to the requirements of a washing machine production line. Also in this case a certain number of quality control systems will be analyzed and integrated within the multi-agent architecture.

The approach and the methodology developed will be generalized in order to be applied on different production rather than the washing machine sector that it is the GRACE real test case. This will be the objective of the WP4 where a new engineering methodology for MAS will be developed.

The WP5 is devoted to the multi-agent system components integration, prototyping and final validation. The hardware and the software components (singularly developed and validated in the previous WPs) are integrated and validated in a real test environment, the washing machine production line, in order to check the overall functionality of the system. Particular emphasis will be devoted to the measurements of multi-agent system performances in order to validate the overall objective to reach an increase in the efficiency of the production line up to 8%.

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