Enhanced discrete-event simulation modelling techniques for operational evaluation of advanced manufacturing systems

Rezvani, Amir Reza (1990) Enhanced discrete-event simulation modelling techniques for operational evaluation of advanced manufacturing systems. (PhD thesis), Kingston Polytechnic, .


Thorough investigation and planning are essential steps in the deployment of Flexible Manufacturing Systems. At the present time, the most popular method of planning and analysis of these systems is computer-based modelling and simulation of which many varieties are commercially available. Ideally, during the modelling phase, the modeller should pay particular attention to such important details as reliability, damage propagation patterns, condition monitoring scenarios and the supervision aspects of these system as these factors are critical to the operation and performance of any envisaged configuration of FMS or its subsystems. In practice however, these are among the most neglected aspects of the models being constructed at the present time. This is in part because the present generation of commercially available simulation languages and environments are in many respects ill-equipped to deal with the challenges posed by the modelling of FMS. This thesis investigates the potential suitability of contemporary reliability and fault-mode description and analysis tools for inclusion within simulation models. Contemporary research work in analytical arid simulation-based reliability and fault-mode modelling and analysis of computer-integrated and flexible manufacturing systems have been investigated. A number of guidelines for the development of CIM and FMS simulation models have been developed. Four standard FMS models are developed and utilized as application examples in thesis. Analytical reliability techniques have been re-examined with special reference to the modelling of computer-integrated and flexible manufacturing systems. The potential sources of error and pitfalls of discrete-event simulation modelling have been outlined. The effect of the host languages, the different simulation time advancement modes, and the traditionally prescribed break-down modelling techniques have been investigated. Contemporary technology, programming and modelling concepts have been illustrated using PCModel and PROLOG. Fundamentals of "accurate" knowledge-based simulation modelling have been described and an alternative object-like structural implementation in a declarative environment has been proposed for the simulation models and tools. A detailed examination of the pre-requisites for the accurate simulation of reliability, fault-mode, and condition monitoring aspects of FMS has been performed. Some of the reliability and fault-mode modelling and analysis tools have been considered for their potential suitability as discrete-event simulation tools. Various possible resource-aging modes, health monitoring modules, and repairability /maintenance models have been developed. Micro-failure modelling and analysis has been proposed as an alternative to the traditional macro-failure modelling and analysis. Techniques for modelling of systems incorporating combinations of new and used equipment have been developed. A multi-phase development and demonstration of simulation models incorporating the tools and concepts proposed and cultivated during the course of the research has been undertaken. In each case, the model's evolution and the subsequent variations in its behaviour have been followed and examined from its bare-bone prototype to its fully developed stage. The research results in better understanding of reliability, condition monitoring and knowledge representation issues in simulation.

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