“Broadcaster”: An architectural description of a prototype supporting real-time remote data propagation in distributed manufacturing

Globalisation of manufacturing activities tend to geographically distribute manufacturing entities, resulting into each entity adopting its own mechanism, for aggregating and analysing real-time shop floor machines' information. The enterprise systems normally employ sophisticated and computationally expensive techniques to access this data, even if they operate remotely having limited network connectivity and system legacies. There is a need to propagate machine information in soft real-time basis to these entities regardless of their geographic locations and / or mechanisms. Authors are presenting an architectural description of a prototype system called the ldquoBroadcasterrdquo which efficiently distributes manufacturing machine information to a number of remotely located global engineering partners. This prototype addresses the emergent system issues like maintainability, reliability, integrity, robustness, flexibility and performance using a heterogeneous composition of ldquoBlackboardrdquo repository model with an event-driven invocation technique, implemented using interface-based strategy. The design and implementation assumes the control environment description to be engineered using the component-based system paradigm. Presently, the prototype is evaluated on a demonstration test rig provided by the Ford Motor Company, which is implemented using a fully Web services distributed control device called FTB, designed by the Schneider Electric Company. Based on the evaluation from the implementation stage, authors have justified and concluded the paper highlighting the key benefits of this approach, and described any future research that is to be carried out.