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In order to address the dynamic requirements of project-based productions, this paper proposes a collaborative project scheduling and management system framework using a distributed multi-agent approach. This framework consists of three types of agents: L-Agents to enable integration with MRP/ERP and other legacy systems; P-Agents to schedule and manage the projects; and D-Agents to schedule, monitor and coordinate actual productions. These generic agents are dynamically deployed and customized at each location where a portion of the project is executed. An overall coordination is achieved through the communication and negotiation among these distributed agents. The proposed system enables project managers and others to effectively accommodate frequent engineering changes and other uncertainties while making an effective use of available distributed resources and fulfilling the customer requirements. A company manufacturing tools for sheet metal fabrications is used as an example to test and validate our prototype system. The prototyped system architecture is well suited for distributed problem solving applications and is adaptable to other application domains.
Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 2003. IEEE International Conference on (Volume:2 )
Date of Conference: 5-8 Oct. 2003