A material flow management (MFM) system that controls and manages material flows on the shop floor is a key component of enterprise information systems. It typically runs as a centralized software application, which becomes difficult in providing desirable system performance, robustness, flexibility, and interoperability in an e-business manufacturing environment. This paper proposes a solution to the design and development of a scalable, reconfigurable, and distributed MFM system. Using the concept of Virtual Production Lines, production lines can be logically configured, and operated, respectively, in processing different families of products; MFM modules/instances are accordingly created to control and manage material flows in corresponding production lines. By reducing the complexity of MFM through the use of decomposed MFM instances and taking advantage of family-type process configurations, a manufacturing system can cut down machine setup time, reduce production cycle time, and improve system responsiveness. Moreover, multi-agents are utilized in the decomposed MFM instances that directly interact with enterprise workflow systems, so information on material consumption and movement can be delivered to office-level planning systems in a timely manner.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Management Information Systems
- Information Systems
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Information Systems and Management