University of Nottingham
The Evolvable Assembly systems project will adopt the methods of context-awareness, multi-agent swarm intelligence and self-adaptation. Context-awareness will provide each individual element with the understating of the surrounding environment; multi-agent swarm intelligence will support system self-organisation based on a community of autonomous and cooperative entities; and self-adaptation will allow the development of a goal driven collective behaviour leading to purposeful system evolution. The proposed programme is a radical departure from the current philosophy of reconfigurable manufacturing - it will create a framework for autonomous context-aware and adaptable assembly and manufacturing systems that can co-evolve with products, processes and business and social environment. This transformational approach presents theoretical, technical and social challenges that demand new fundamental multidisciplinary research.
The Cloud Manufacturing research project investigates how digital technologies can enable 'on demand' manufacturing. The research adopts the methods of cloud computing and crowdsourcing, hence bringing new models for open innovation within the manufacturing space to enable new organisations to arise without the need for a large capital investment. This approach proposes a radical departure from the current philosophy of manufacturing ICT and we are exploring the benefits of using Connext DDS as part of a multi-layered architecture where manufacturing entities participate and contribute with information, and support different services to the manufacturing life cycle, supply chain, consumers and users of the products.
Cloud Manufacturing: a proof of concept of Manufacturing-as-a-Service. G. Terrazas, D. Sanderson, E. Kelly, S. Ratchev. In 3rd EPSRC Manufacturing the Future Conference, 2014