Loughborough University
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Innovative approach to the design and realisation of a virtual prototyping environment for manufacturing systems engineering

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posted on 2011-02-14, 11:55 authored by Daniel A. Vera
The highly dynamic context in which manufacturing related enterprises have to operate have had a direct effect on the organisation which are concerned with the design and commissioning of production lines, also referred to as manufacturing systems (MS). There is an increasing need for methods, tools, and technologies that allow the time frame for the design of such systems to be reduced in order to gain competitive edge in the market. The research presented in this thesis is part of the COMPAG/COMPANION (COMponentbased Paradigm for AGile automation, and COmmon Model for PArtNers in automatION) projects conducted at Loughborough University UK. The COMPAG/COMPANION project aims at designing and implementing new tools to support the engineering lifecycle of MS. The present research focuses on the specification, design and implementation of a Virtual Prototyping Environment (VPE) that allows three-dimensional, computer-based and dynamic models of manufacturing systems to be implemented and used as virtual prototypes prior to the final design and MS commissioning phases. This research proposes a new approach to the design and implementation of VPE tools, aimed at providing support for the engineering of flexible machine technologies (referred to as Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems), which rely on the use of modular technologies and component-based distributed machine control systems. This research is focused on two aspects of VPE tools' development, which are i) ensuring the consistency between real and virtual systems architectures, design tools and design processes, and ii) maximising the potential of 3D computer-based virtual model as a basis for distributed engineering collaboration. A so-called component-based (CB) approach to VPE tools' design and implementation is proposed, which radically contrasts with approaches commonly adopted by both the commercial and academic VPE developers. The VPE developed in the context of this research should ultimately enable more effective management of RMS complex engineering lifecycle by engineering partners who are globally distributed.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering


© D.A. Vera

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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  • en