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The highly dynamic environments imposed by reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMS) present a challenge for achieving fully automated reconfiguration. Of special interest are the situations in which new modular equipment is added to the production lines or in which existing equipment fails, since this calls for human intervention and long production delays. By integrating the concept of service-oriented architecture (SOA) through Web services (WS) into the factory automation domain it is possible to abstract and encapsulate the functionality of the devices as services. These services can be used independently of the devicepsilas physical location and of their software/hardware platforms. Furthermore, by providing an intelligent control mechanism for these services it is possible to improve the systemspsila reconfigurability. This paper proposes the integration of WS and a multi-agent system (MAS) in order to build a control architecture suitable for automated reconfigurability. The architecture is presented together with an analysis of the requirements for its implementation.
Date of Conference: 13-16 July 2008