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Automation Science and Engineering, IEEE Transactions on

Issue 1 • Date JANUARY 2012

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 25
  • Table of contents

    Page(s): C1
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  • IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering publication information

    Page(s): C2
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  • What Is Automation?

    Page(s): 1 - 2
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  • Input Order Robustness: Definition, Verification Procedure, and Examples

    Page(s): 3 - 15
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (670 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Verifying that logic control satisfies some desirable properties is essential to the proper and safe functioning of a manufacturing system. Input order robustness is one such property that has not been thoroughly explored. If a logic controller is input order robust for all sets of inputs whose elements can arrive in any order and whose order should not affect the logic controller's final state or set of outputs, then the logic controller behaves the same in these regards irrespective of the inputs' order. This paper develops a procedure to verify input order robustness for logic controllers implemented in a variety of formalisms, and demonstrates its application on Event-Condition-Action Modular Finite-State Machines (ECA MFSM) and IEC 61499 controllers. Additionally, this verification is extended to a class of networks of controllers, and the computational complexity of such verifications are discussed. View full abstract»

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  • A Bayesian Hierarchical Framework for Multitarget Labeling and Correspondence With Ghost Suppression Over Multicamera Surveillance System

    Page(s): 16 - 30
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    In this paper, the main purpose is to locate, label, and correspond multiple targets with the capability of ghost suppression over a multicamera surveillance system. In practice, the challenges come from the unknown target number, the interocclusion among targets, and the ghost effect caused by geometric ambiguity. Instead of directly corresponding objects among different camera views, the proposed framework adopts a fusion-inference strategy. In the fusion stage, we formulate a posterior distribution to indicate the likelihood of having some moving targets at certain ground locations. Based on this distribution, a systematic approach is proposed to construct a rough scene model of the moving targets. In the inference stage, the scene model is inputted into a proposed Bayesian hierarchical detection framework, where the target labeling, target correspondence, and ghost removal are regarded as a unified optimization problem subject to 3-D scene priors, target priors, and foreground detection results. Moreover, some target priors, such as target height, target width, and the labeling results are iteratively refined based on an expectation-maximization (EM) mechanism to further boost system performance. Experiments over real videos verify that the proposed system can systematically determine the target number, efficiently label moving targets, precisely locate their 3-D locations, and effectively tackle the ghost problem. View full abstract»

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  • Application of the Assembly Skill Transfer System in an Actual Cellular Manufacturing System

    Page(s): 31 - 41
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1373 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    A cellular manufacturing system is good at producing diversified products flexibly; however, its assembly efficiency depends mainly on its operators' abilities. As the workforce shrinks in Japan, cellular manufacturing systems are difficult to maintain. In this case, a new assembly system has been developed since 2006 that combines both the dexterities of human operators and the advantages of automatic machinery. Its characteristics consist of three aspects: collaboration between an operator and twin manipulators on a mobile base, assembly information guidance, and safe design for collaboration. To meet the rapid changing tastes of customers, operators have to assemble various products without longtime training. This requires an effective assembly skill transfer system to extract assembly skills from skilled operators, and then transfer them to novice ones. Considering the characteristics of a cellular manufacturing system, an assembly skill transfer system was proposed and used to extract and transfer assembly skills in both cognition and execution aspects. Taking a cable harness task as an example, the proposed skill transfer system was applied in a developed assembly system. The results show that working under the developed assembly system with physical support, informational support, and the assembly skill transfer system, novice operators' assembly performance was greatly improved. This verified the effect of the proposed solution to maintain the cellular manufacturing system in the aging Japanese society. View full abstract»

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  • A Polynomial Dynamic Programming Algorithm for Crude Oil Transportation Planning

    Page(s): 42 - 55
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (723 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Crude oil transportation is a central logistics operation in petrochemical industry because its cost represents a significant part in the cost of petrochemical products. In this paper, we consider the transportation by tankers or trucks. We show that under some realistic assumptions, this problem can be transformed into a single item lot sizing problem with limited production and inventory capacities. We develop a strongly polynomial dynamic programming algorithm to solve it. The problem of crude oil transportation is very difficult. There are few efficient methods in this domain. In the model considered in this paper, crude oil is directly shipped from a supplier port to n client ports to satisfy customer demands over T future periods. The supplier port disposes a fleet of identical tankers with limited capacity. The inventory capacities of customers are limited and time-varying. The backlogging is admitted. The objective is to find an optimal shipment plan minimizing the total cost over the T-period horizon. When the number of tankers is unlimited and customer demands are independent, shipment plans of different customers become independent. This problem can be considered as n independent problems. Each of them can be transformed into a single item lot sizing problem with limited production and inventory capacities, where tanker capacity corresponds to production capacity in classical lot sizing models. The main contributions of this paper are: 1) transformation of a transportation planning problem into a lot-sizing problem; 2) an O(T3) algorithm is proposed to solve it; and 3) the results can also be applied to terrestrial transportation with direct deliveries. View full abstract»

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  • A Comparative Study on Two Types of Automated Container Terminal Systems

    Page(s): 56 - 69
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (2258 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper introduces a new type of automated container terminal system, which utilizes multistory frame bridges and rail-mounted trolleys to transport containers between the quay and the yard. For this new design concept, this paper makes an explorative study to identify the challenges and opportunity for it to be applied in transshipment hubs. We compare the transport efficiency and stacking capacity between this new system and the widely used AGV-based system. Several analytical models and performance measures are proposed for the quantitative comparisons between these two ACT systems. View full abstract»

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  • Discrete-Event Coordination Design for Distributed Agents

    Page(s): 70 - 82
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (476 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper presents new results on the formal design of distributed coordinating agents in a discrete-event framework. In this framework, agents are modeled to be individually equipped with a coordination module, through which they interact and communicate. In terms of existing control-theoretic concepts, we first define the concept of a coordinable language and show that it is the necessary and sufficient existence condition of coordination modules for distributed agents to achieve conformance to a prespecified interagent constraint language. Following, we present a synthesis algorithm to compute near-optimal coordination modules. An example is provided to illustrate the design synthesis using the proposed algorithm. Finally, a discussion with related work distinguishes our coordination design problem from related problems in the literature. View full abstract»

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  • Solution Workflows for Model-Based Analysis of Complex Systems

    Page(s): 83 - 95
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (750 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The development and analysis of increasingly complex systems require the intensive use of models and of sophisticated approaches to systems modeling. This paper focuses on workflows supporting the solution of complex, composed, formal models used to study and/or develop real-world systems. The workflows we deal with orchestrate multiple distributed tools and applications in order to provide the user with a powerful, composed solution environment. The aim is to automate and reproduce analysis and simulation tasks starting from a high level, graph-based description of the model to be solved. This paper thus introduces solution workflows and presents the Solution Process Definition Language (SPDL) for the specification of solution workflows processes. One of the key elements of SPDL is its formal semantics, which allow for unambiguous specification of its constructs and validation of the workflows. A workflow pattern analysis of SPDL is also provided. SPDL and its execution environment, the OsMoSys framework, are then applied to a homeland security scenario. The OsMoSys framework and the SPDL language provide a practical contribution to the applicability of model engineering techniques by enabling the semiautomatic solution of complex models. View full abstract»

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  • From Hardware-in-the-Loop to Hybrid Process Simulation: An Ontology for the Implementation Phase of a Manufacturing System

    Page(s): 96 - 109
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (748 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) is a widely used testing approach for embedded systems, where real components and/or controllers are tested in closed-loop with a simulation model. In this paper, we generalize HIL by combining multiple simulations and real components into a Hybrid Process Simulation (HPS). An HPS is a test setup that contains at least one simulated and one actual component, but may contain many of both. It is implemented such that each simulated component can be swapped out with its real counterpart without making changes to the existing system, and vice versa. In this paper, an ontology which provides a conceptual architecture is developed for an HPS, such that a general interpretation of a manufacturing system's implementation is made possible. A formalized application method is then devised for replacing simulations with real processes and vice versa. A conceptual architecture is put forth that separates the effect of a component from its spatial essence (volume or mass). This separation allows workpieces in a manufacturing process, for example, to go from the physical world into the virtual world (computer simulation) and back again repeatedly. The conceptual architecture is applied to a small manufacturing line in the following scenarios: replacing a real robot with a simulated robot, replacing a manufacturing cell with a simulated manufacturing cell, and adding a new simulated manufacturing cell to the existing system. These applications successfully demonstrate how an HPS can be used to test a manufacturing system setup with multiple regions of real and simulated components. View full abstract»

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  • A Semantic Product Modeling Framework and Its Application to Behavior Evaluation

    Page(s): 110 - 123
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (3899 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Supporting different stakeholder viewpoints across the product lifecycle requires semantic richness to represent product-related information and enable multiview engineering simulations. This paper proposes a multilevel product modeling framework enabling stakeholders to define product models and relate them to physical or simulated instances. The framework is defined within the Model-Driven Architecture using the multilevel (data, model, metamodel) approach. The data level represents real-world products, the model level describes models (product models) of real-world products, and the metamodel level describes models of the product models. The metamodel defined in this paper is specialized from a web ontology language enabling product designers to express the semantics of product models in an engineering-friendly way. The interactions between these three levels are described to show how each level in the framework is used in a product engineering context. A product design scenario and user interface for the product metamodel is provided for further understanding of the framework. View full abstract»

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  • Functional Morphing in Multistage Manufacturing and Its Applications in High-Definition Metrology-Based Process Control

    Page(s): 124 - 136
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1557 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In multistage manufacturing processes equipped with high-definition metrology (HDM), part surface quality characteristics can be observed to change or “morph” from stage to stage. Such part surface variation propagations are caused by the physical processes, part attributes, and the interaction between stages. Previous research on variation propagation modeling focuses on part dimensional quality using discrete key product characteristics or vectors which have limitations in analyzing complex surface variation patterns contained in the HDM data. This paper proposes a new concept of functional morphing to characterize the surface changes and applies it to process control in high-precision manufacturing. Unlike conventional morphing algorithms that focus on transformations between geometries only, functional morphing integrates process physical insights into the geometric mappings, thus characterizing the complex HDM data patterns in physically meaningful ways. Specifically, a functional free form deformation approach including forward and backward mappings is developed to extract mapping functions between manufacturing stages to enable surface variation propagation analysis. The forward mapping function allows for accurate interstage adjustment that introduces shape deformation upstream to compensate for the end-of-line errors. The backward mapping function can predict surfaces at intermediate stages based on end-of-line measurements, leading to a cost-effective interstage process monitoring scheme. The interstage monitoring can also ensure the repeatability of a process controlled by the interstage compensation algorithm. The developed monitoring and adjustment methods are demonstrated via a case study of a two-stage machining process. Other potential applications of functional morphing such as process tolerance design are also discussed. View full abstract»

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  • Improvement of Lagrangian Relaxation Convergence for Production Scheduling

    Page(s): 137 - 147
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1100 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    It is widely accepted that new production scheduling tools are playing a key role in flexible manufacturing systems to improve their performance by avoiding idleness machines while minimizing set-up times penalties, reducing penalties for do not delivering orders on time, etc. Since manufacturing scheduling problems are NP-hard, there is a need of improving scheduling methodologies to get good solutions within low CPU time. Lagrangian Relaxation (LR) is known for handling large-scale separable problems, however, the convergence to the optimal solution can be slow. LR needs customized parametrization, depending on the scheduling problem, usually made by an expert user. It would be interesting the use of LR without being and expertise, i.e., without difficult parameters tuning. This paper presents innovative approaches on the LR method to be able to develop a tool capable of solve scheduling problems applying the LR method without requiring a deep expertise on it. First approach is the improvement of an already existing method which use Constraint Programming (CP) to obtain better primal cost convergence. Second approach is called Extended Subgradient Information (ESGI) and it speed up the dual cost convergence. Finally, a set of step size rules for the Subgradient (SG) method are compared to choose the most appropriate rule depending on the scheduling problem. Test results demonstrate that the application of CP and ESGI approaches, together with LR and the selected step size rule depending on the problem, generates better solutions than the LR method by itself. View full abstract»

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  • A Production-Inventory System With Both Patient and Impatient Demand Classes

    Page(s): 148 - 159
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    We consider a production-inventory system with two customer classes, one patient and one impatient. Orders from the patient class can be backordered if needed, while orders from the impatient class must be rejected if they cannot be fulfilled from on-hand inventory. Orders backordered incur a backorder cost, while orders rejected incur a lost sales cost. The objective is to minimize the sum of inventory holding cost and the costs of backorders and lost sales. We formulate the problem as a Markov decision process and use this formulation to characterize the structure of the optimal policy. We show that the optimal policy can be described by two threshold functions that depend on the level of backorders from the patient class. These threshold functions specify: 1) when it is optimal to produce; 2) how to allocate units produced to either increase inventory or reduce backorder; and 3) when to fulfill orders from on-hand inventory and when to backorder (in the case of the patient class) and when to reject them (in the case of the impatient class). We show that the priority in inventory allocation among the two classes is not static and instead depends on the backorder level from the class of patient customers. In particular, it is possible to start out fulfilling orders from the impatient class and backordering orders from the patient class and then to switch to fulfilling orders from the patient class and rejecting orders from the impatient class. In addition to characterizing the structure of the optimal policy, we also describe an effective heuristic that retains the essential features of the optimal policy but is significantly simpler to implement. This heuristic performs nearly as well as the optimal policy and significantly outperforms other plausible heuristics. View full abstract»

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  • A Multiscale Assembly and Packaging System for Manufacturing of Complex Micro-Nano Devices

    Page(s): 160 - 170
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    Reliable manufacturability has always been a major issue in commercialization of complex and heterogeneous microsystems. Though successful for simpler and monolithic microdevices such as accelerometers and pressure sensors of early days, conventional surface micromachining techniques, and in-plane mechanisms do not prove suffice to address the manufacturing of today's wide range of microsystem designs. This has led to the evolution of microassembly as an alternative and enabling technology which can, in principle, build complex systems by assembling heterogeneous microparts of comparatively simpler design; thus reducing the overall footprint of the device and providing high structural rigidity in a cost efficient manner. However, unlike in macroscale assembly systems, microassembly does not enjoy the flexibility of having ready-to-use manipulation systems or standard off-the-shelf components. System specific designs of microparts and mechanisms make the fabrication process expensive and assembly scheme diverse. This warrants for a modular microassembly cell which can execute the assembly process of multiple microsystems by reconfiguring the kinematics setup, end-effectors, feedback system, etc.; thus minimizing the cost of production. In this paper, we present a multiscale assembly and packaging system (MAPS) comprising of 20 degrees of freedom (DoFs) that can be arranged in several reconfigurable micromanipulation modules depending on the specific task. The system has been equipped with multiple custom-designed microgrippers and end-effectors for different applications. Stereo microscopic vision is achieved through four high-resolution cameras. We will demonstrate the construction of two different microsystems using this microassembly cell; the first one is a miniature optical spectrum analyzer called microspectrometer and the second one is a MEMS mobile robot/conveyor called Arripede. View full abstract»

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  • Building a Communication Bridge With Mobile Hubs

    Page(s): 171 - 176
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (335 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Mobile robots can be used as mobile hubs to provide communication services on-demand. This capability is especially valuable in disaster response scenarios where there is no communication infrastructure. In such scenarios, mobile hubs can provide a communication infrastructure in a dynamic fashion. In this paper, we study the problem of building a communication bridge between a source s and a destination t with mobile robots. Given a set of robots P and their initial locations, our goal is to find a subset S of robots and their final locations such that the robots in S create a communication bridge between s and t in their final locations. We introduce a new optimization problem for building communication bridges. The objective is to minimize the number of hubs (i.e., |S|), while simultaneously minimizing the robots' motion. The two mobility measures studied in this paper are: (i) maximum travel distance and (ii) total travel distance of the robots. For a geometric version of the problem where the robots must move onto the line segment [s, t], we present polynomial time algorithms which use the minimum number of hubs while remaining within a constant factor of a given motion measure. View full abstract»

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  • M -Ary RFID Tags Splitting With Small Idle Slots

    Page(s): 177 - 181
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (205 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In radio frequency identifications (RFIDs), an idle slot can be interrupted by the reader and takes less time than the other slots. In this case, the widely used binary splitting (BS) protocol is not optimal. M-ary splitting (M >; 2) with a carefully selected M outperforms BS, because it can take into account smaller duration of the idle slots. In this paper, we provide optimal value of M (Mopt) for varying slot sizes that yields minimum identification time. The proposed scheme is called optimal splitting (OS). We also revise OS to deal with mobile tags and propose the optimal splitting with arrival tags blocking (OS-ATB) protocol. Extensive simulations show that OS and OS-ATB consistently yield better performance than the other splitting and tree-based schemes. View full abstract»

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  • Developing an Automatic Virtual Metrology System

    Page(s): 181 - 188
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    Virtual Metrology (VM) is a method to conjecture manufacturing quality of a process tool based on data sensed from the process tool and without physical metrology operations. VM has now been designated by the International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative and International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors as one of the focus areas for the next-generation factory realization roadmap of the semiconductor industry. This paper defines the VM automation levels, proposes the concept of automatic virtual metrology (AVM), and develops an AVM system for automatic and fab-wide VM deployment. The example of automatic VM model refreshing for chemical vapor deposition (CVD) tools is also illustrated in this paper. The AVM system has been successfully deployed in a fifth-generation thin-film-transistor-liquid-crystal-display (TFT-LCD) factory in Chi Mei Optoelectronics (CMO), Taiwan. View full abstract»

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  • An Effective Meta-Heuristic for No-Wait Job Shops to Minimize Makespan

    Page(s): 189 - 198
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    The no-wait job shop problem that exists with makespan minimization is well known to be a strongly NP-hard problem. In this paper, the properties of the problem are analyzed according to its characteristics. The problem is remodeled based on the introduced time difference. A traditional framework is adopted by decomposing the problem into two subproblems: the sequencing and the timetabling problems. An efficient Shift Penalty-Based Timetabling method is proposed, which constructs two initial timetables from time difference-based sets and improves them by an investigated timetable tightening method. A modified complete local search with memory is presented for the sequencing problem. The whole algorithm is tested on benchmark instances and compared with the two best existing algorithms. Computational results show that the proposed algorithm performs well on both effectiveness and efficiency. View full abstract»

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  • Workflow Nets for Multiagent Cooperation

    Page(s): 198 - 203
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (289 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We present a formal framework for robotic cooperation in which we use an extension to Petri nets, known as workflow nets, to establish a protocol among mobile agents based on the task coverage they maintain. Our choice is motivated by the fact that Petri nets handle concurrency and that goal reachability, or soundness, can be theoretically established. In particular, we define a mathematical cooperation operator which turns cooperation problems expressed as workflow nets into algebraic representations. While we do not address the problem of efficiency, we formally demonstrate that this framework guarantees soundness, or goal reachability, using workflow nets. View full abstract»

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  • Schedulability Analysis and Optimal Scheduling of Dual-Arm Cluster Tools With Residency Time Constraint and Activity Time Variation

    Page(s): 203 - 209
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    With wafer residency time constraint of cluster tools in semiconductor manufacturing, activity time variation can make an originally feasible schedule infeasible. Thus, it is difficult to schedule them and schedulability is a vitally important issue. With bounded activity time variation considered, this paper addresses their real-time scheduling issues and conducts their schedulability analysis. A Petri net (PN) model and a control policy are presented. Based on them, this paper derives closed-form schedulability conditions. If schedulable, an algorithm is developed to obtain an offline periodic schedule. This schedule together with the control policy forms a real-time schedule. It is optimal in terms of cycle time and can be analytically computed, which represents significant advance in this area. View full abstract»

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  • Modified Two-Stage Degradation Model for Dynamic Maintenance Threshold Calculation Considering Uncertainty

    Page(s): 209 - 212
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (166 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Manufacturing systems are subject to unscheduled downtime due to machine malfunction. A threshold or an alarm is usually obtained based on equipment lifetime distribution to trigger maintenance work orders. The gap between conventional method and industrial practice is that the threshold is fixed and does not consider the status change due to machine degradation. In addition, the uncertainty involved in threshold calculation has not been carefully considered. An approach to extract dynamic maintenance threshold is presented for the continuously monitored degrading system considering system uncertainty. A modified two-stage degradation modeling approach is proposed to derive the degradation path for reliability prediction. A numerical case is exploited to demonstrate the benefits of the proposed approach. Results indicate that unnecessary or excessive maintenance is effectively avoided, and the machine availability will be consequently increased. View full abstract»

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  • IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Information

    Page(s): C3
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  • IEEE Transactions on Automation Science and Engineering information for authors

    Page(s): C4
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Aims & Scope

T-ASE will publish foundational research on Automation: scientific methods and technologies that improve efficiency, productivity, quality, and reliability, specifically for methods, machines, and systems operating in structured environments over long periods, and the explicit structuring of environments.

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Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Ken Goldberg
University of California, Berkeley