Design and implementation of a distributed part routing algorithm for Reconfigurable Transportation Systems

Carpanzano, Emanuele and Cesta, Amedeo and Orlandini, Andrea and Rasconi, Riccardo and Suriano, Marco and Umbrico, Alessandro and Valente, Anna (2014) Design and implementation of a distributed part routing algorithm for Reconfigurable Transportation Systems. International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing. ISSN 1362-3052 (In Press)

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The reconfigurability feature represents an instrumental characteristic for manufacturing systems that are required to frequently adapt the architecture and functionalities to match evolving production environment where changes of product variants and demand volumes frequently occur. Transportation systems embrace a major industrial application of the reconfiguration concept. Reconfigurable Transportation Systems (RTSs) are conceived as multiple independent modules to implement alternative inbound logistic systems’ configurations. Together with mechatronic interfaces and distributed control solutions, the full exploitation of reconfigurability strategies for transportation systems relies upon flexible production management policies. This enables the dynamic computation of part routings in RTSs after every reconfiguration and change in the way transportation modules are exploited. The current work proposes an innovative agent-based algorithm that combines global and local optimization criteria to manage the part flow in RTS. The proposed approach is designed as fully distributed across transportation modules; based on current RTS’ topology and status, it ensures the autonomy in selecting routing decisions while embracing global and local evolving optimization strategies. The benefits of the approach have been investigated with reference to a set of realistic RTS topologies exhibiting different routing options, in order to assess the algorithm under different part routing conditions.

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