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Agent-Based Decision Support and Simulation for Wood Products Manufacturing

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2 Author(s)
Eman Elghoneimy ; Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada ; William A. Gruver

A rough mill is a manufacturing plant where lumber of approximate dimensions is cut into components of specific sizes, priorities, and qualities to fill customer orders for wood products such as furniture, doors, and window frames. Lumber is a valuable natural resource that is a significant expense to the company. By improving the processes in the rough mill, cost can be reduced and waste of natural materials is decreased. We present an overview of research in agent-based manufacturing systems. The operations in a rough mill are described and the decisions that operators take are identified. A rough mill decision support and simulation system is designed and implemented. An agent ontology for rough mill operations is developed. A prototype system is implemented to demonstrate the architecture and interagent communication. This prototype is extended to two lines of production and the negotiation protocol is presented. Extension of the approach to multiple lines of production is discussed. The prototype system is used to implement a decision support and simulation system that is validated with historical data. Finally, we present a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of using the multiagent paradigm in rough mill decision support.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part C (Applications and Reviews)  (Volume:42 ,  Issue: 6 )