Proposal of a holonic product traceability model

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Product lifecycle reference model

Lots of definitions of product lifecycle exist. In order to have a unique understanding of such term, in the next chapters the thesis will refer to product lifecycle in terms of sequence of stages in the product life, not in the market. In particular, trying to merge diverse kinds of the described product lifecycle models, the following general product lifecycle model (figure 2.5) which will be considered in the thesis.
This simple model aims to normalize a product lifecycle composed by four different phases:
Product Development: it deals the developing phase of the product, starting from product design and ending, through process and plant design. Each of these four product development sub-phases usually starts from the requirements analysis (requested performances, costs, marketing strategies and so on) and proceeds with a first draft for ending with the detailed design.
Product Production: it comprises both production and distribution activities. Production phase may be very complex and often includes pre-production and prototyping, manufacturing, assembling, finishing, testing, packaging, etc. Distribution, on the other side, is related with product storage and delivery.
Product Use: this is the proper product life phase and represents all activities which take place during product use: they comprise product usage and consumption, maintenance and support.
Product Dismiss: in this last phase the product is destroyed, or rather disassembled and recycled.
This reference model will be used in the next paragraphs to classify diverse elements and aspects of PLM. It will be also adopted in the reference metamodel for product traceability in the second part of the thesis. The GERAM model will be also used because of its exhaustive declaration of stages; table 2.2 defines the relation between the proposed reference model and the GERAM one.

PLM ICT elements and functionalities

As mentioned, PLM is at a first approach an ICT problem. Indeed, PLM market is an ICT market, where lot of vendor are trying to survive. The present situation (and the same PLM concept) derives from an evolution of ICT which is currently on going, which is described in the present paragraph.
From the 70ies, enterprises have been disposed of several ICT systems, supporting more and more complex activities and processes. The groth of ICT adoption into enterprises has been suffered diverse accelerations: from the installation of minicomputers in the 80ies, to the revolution of Work Stations and Personal Computers in the 90ies, until the current revolution of the Internet era. All these revolutions have been supported several re-engineering of business processes; a clear example is the establishment of collaboration: organizational ideas like co-marketing, co-design, co-engineering, co-manufacturing, co-selling, which have been defined since the 80ies, would have been only theoretical exercises without the evolution provided by Internet-based ICT.

ICT evolution into the design processes

Looking to the main process of NPD, the design activities are supported by diverse ICT tools, which are in a continuous development and evolution. For example, in the area of product development, ICT tools supporting product engineers have been existing since more then 30 years and they are at their third generation: the first 2D Computer Aided Design (CAD) systems, introduced in the 70ies, were replaced in the 80ies by 3D CAD; the 90ies, because of the performed hardware innovation, have introduced more functional features, such as assembly supporting definition, or design path recording (e.g. [3], [4]). Nowadays, 3D technologies are assuming a relevant role: Digital Mock Up for product development provides to engineers the possibilities of a well-defined 3D simulation for stylistic, designing and also maintenance purposes. Other 3D approaches are currently under development and diffusion in the market, such as the functional approach (e.g. [23], [24]) or the most advanced Knowledge Based Engineering systems (KBE) [25], which automate sophisticated designing procedures. CAD systems can ever more communicate with other CAx tools, such as Computer Aided Styling systems (CAS) and Computer Aided Manufacturing systems (CAM), which automate NC (Numerical Control) machine programs generation. This path to integration has been supported by the development of international standards, such as STEP [6] and IGES [8] (see also Chapter 6).
Something similar has been happened in the area of manufacturing planning: since the ’70ies, several ICT tools for Computer Aided Process Planning (CAPP) have been appeared for supporting engineers in the definition of manufacturing plans. CAPP tools have evolved from simple approaches to more complicated ones [9]. In recent years, CAPP tools have being developed in distributed and collaborative environments, evolving from standalone applications in more sophisticated CAPP platforms, where engineers, coming from diverse departments and enterprises, could cooperate for developing coordinated manufacturing planning solutions (e.g. [10], [11], [12]).
Also the world of factory design and planning has been subjected to such kind of evolution; single and separated ICT tools adopted by engineers for plant layout designing, planning and simulation have been replaced by more integrated platforms and tools, connected also with other CAx systems (e.g. [24], [35]).
In the last years, many tools which enable information sharing between engineers in distributed environments appeared, under a lot of diverse names and acronyms: EDM (Engineering Data Management), PDM (Product Data Management), PIM (Product Information Management), TDM (Technical Data Management), eBOP (Electronic Bill of Processes) [26] to name a few. All these systems, generally defined as Document Management (DM) tools [27], are physically based on a central database, where there are provided central services (vault) for managing design data (product, plan, plant design), such as access rights control and design release management. These stored data are Bill of Materials (BOM), Bill of Resources (BOR), Bill of Processes (BOP), CAx files, manuals, guidelines, spread sheets files… Especially because of the evolution of these DM systems and also because of the evolution of diverse interoperability standards ([26], [27]), a large integration between IT tools of the area of design process is under development; this integration is currently defined as Digital Manufacturing and Engineering ([28], [30]), which indicates how the whole Design Process, composed by Product Development, Manufacturing Planning and Factory Planning, could be realized using an integrated platform where engineers could cooperate, sensibly reducing the development time. Internet-oriented technologies are the key-success factors, fostering integration of software and hardware platforms, in particular because of their independent protocols (e.g. XML, eXtensible Markup Language [29], [31]).

ICT evolution into the operation management processes

Something similar happened in the area of ICT tools supporting production and distribution management (generally operation management) and related activities. As it is well known and accepted, the first operation activities supported by IT tools have been the production activities, where, since the end of 70ies, have been developed lot of ICT systems such as MRP (Material Requirements Planning), evolved in MRPII and CRP (Capacity Requirement Planning), and larger ERP tools (Enterprise Resource Planning), which integrate and support a lot of activities, such as financing, accounting, inventory management. Expensive costs of technological solutions available until the early ’90ies (based on EDI – Electronic Data Interchange), have often decelerated these integrated ICT tools, in particular into SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprise). An inverse route, with an improvement on the diffusion of integrated ICT tools for operation management has been started with the adoption of Internet-based resources (e.g. TCP/IP protocol, or platform-independent languages such as HTML).
Moreover, with the evolution of the markets and relative outsourcing trends, new ICT tools appeared: tools of Supply Chain Management (SCM) for improving relations with suppliers, tools of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) for managing customers and their requests, tools such as Advanced Planning Systems (APS) for improving single and multi sites production scheduling, IT tools for automating, controlling and integrating manufacturing processes with upper level systems (MES – Manufacturing Execution System).
At the present, all these kind of tools are under consolidation into larger distributed ICT platforms for the operation management processes of large international companies, constituting integrated expensive software suites. At the same time and at a cheaper cost, Internet is providing a good way for all related actions of B2B (Business-to-business) and B2C (Business-to-consumer).

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ICT evolution into the supporting processes

The reported ICT evolutions derive intrinsically from the evolution of more basic tools. At first, with the diffusion of process orientation into enterprises, lot of instruments and tools for Business Process Automation (BPA) [27] (also defined as Work-flow Management systems – WFM) have been developed in the last ten years. These tools automate business processes improving speediness and agility in offices repetitive activities; a WFM system is physically a tool for managing information and documents (DM) based on a common repository, where access-safe rights are defined for diverse users, and where repetitive “secretarial” activities are automated using standardized electronic communications (e.g. accounting department in Ford [27]). These systems are the core elements of all the DM tools, such as PDM, EDM and TDM adopted into design processes, but also of SCM and CRM distributed systems. At second, another important evolution might be traced in the area of Project Management techniques (PM). Aboriginal developed as standalone tools, PM tools are nowadays assuming a relevant role into distributed ICT platforms and are integrated as basic techniques for managing processes and tools both of Digital Manufacturing/Engineering (e.g. [24], [35]), and Operation Management [32]. Internet offered a relevant contribution to the development of such basic tools, providing cheap services such as electronic mail and platform-independent languages, but also video and phone streaming conference. WFM systems, at first developed into expensive EDI networks, are nowadays easily accessible at a cheaper cost on Internet (e.g. [33], [34]), also integrating mobile platforms, such as PDA (Personal Digital Assistant, e.g. Palm, Pocket-Pc), GPRS and mobile phones [36]. Also PM techniques are implemented at a low cost into Internet based tools, providing new uses and users (e.g. [37]).

Table of contents :

Part I – Product Lifecycle Management
Chapter 1 – Research questions and methodologies
1.1 INTRODUCTION
1.2 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1.2.1 Definition of Product Lifecycle Management
1.2.2 Reference model for Product Traceability
1.3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGIES
1.4 STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS
1.5 REFERENCES OF THE CHAPTER
Chapter 2 – Elements of PLM
2.1 INTRODUCTION
2.2 PRODUCT LIFECYCLE PHASES
2.2.1 Product lifecycle reference model
2.3 PLM ICT ELEMENTS AND FUNCTIONALITIES
2.3.2 ICT evolution into the design processes
2.3.3 ICT evolution into the operation management processes
2.3.4 ICT evolution into the supporting processes
2.3.5 Main PLM ICT functionalities
2.3.6 PLM ICT foundations
2.4 PROCESSES IN THE PRODUCT LIFECYCLE MANAGEMENT
2.5 CONCLUSIONS OF THE CHAPTER
2.6 REFERENCES OF THE CHAPTER
Chapter 3 – Industrial test cases on PLM
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES AND METHODOLOGY
3.3 ANALYSIS OF THE ITALIAN EXPERIENCES
3.4 CONCLUSIONS
3.5 REFERENCES OF THE CHARTER
Chapter 4 – Definition of PLM
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 TOWARDS A DEFINITION OF PLM
4.2.1 Proposal of a comprehensive definition of PLM
4.3 PLM MARKET AND TRENDS
4.4 OPEN ISSUES IN PLM
4.5 CONCLUSIONS
4.6 REFERENCES OF THE CHAPTER
Part II – Product Lifecycle Traceability
Chapter 5 – Product Lifecycle Traceability
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 PRODUCT LIFECYCLE TRACEABILITY
5.2.1 Towards holonic product modeling and traceability
5.3 STATE OF THE ART OF PRODUCT LIFECYCLE TRACEABILITY
5.4 PRODUCT TRACEABILITY TECHNOLOGIES
5.4.1 Bar code technologies
5.4.2 Radio frequency identification
5.4.3 Traceability architecture
5.5 CONCLUSIONS
5.6 REFERENCES OF THE CHAPTER
Chapter 6 – State of the art of enterprise standards
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2 INTEGRATION REFERENCE MODELS
6.3 INTEROPERABILITY STANDARDS
6.3.1 Product Development Interoperability Standards
6.3.2 Product Production Interoperability Standards
6.3.3 Product Use Interoperability Standards
6.3.4 Automatic Product Identification standards
6.4 CONCLUSIONS
6.5 REFERENCES OF THE CHAPTER
Chapter 7 – State of the art of HMS
7.1 INTRODUCTION
7.2 INTRODUCTION TO HMS
7.3 DEFINITION OF HMS
7.3.1 Holon behavior
7.3.2 Holonic concepts in manufacturing: HMS
7.4 STATE OF THE ART OF HMS
7.4.1 System architectures
7.4.2 Hierarchical versus heterarchical architectures
7.4.3 PROSA Reference architecture
7.4.4 Holons in production planning and control
7.4.5 Virtual Holonic Enterprise
7.4.6 Business among Holonic Enterprises
7.5 CONCLUSIONS
7.6 REFERENCES OF THE CHAPTER
Chapter 8 – Proposal of a holonic product traceability model
8.1 INTRODUCTION
8.1.1 Product lifecycle traceability needs
8.2 DEFINITION OF THE REQUIREMENTS
8.2.1 User Requirements
8.2.2 Main Requirements
8.2.3 Model requirements
8.3 MODEL STRUCTURE
8.3.1 ObjectInformation
8.3.2 The Life Cycle Phase
8.3.3 Event, Activity and Resource
8.4 IMPLEMENTATION OF THE MODEL
8.4.1 XML Implementation
8.5 CONCLUSIONS
8.6 REFERENCES OF THE CHAPTER
Chapter 9 – Validation of the metamodel
9.1 INTRODUCTION
9.2 TEXTILE CASE
9.2.1 Overview of the manufacturing system
9.2.2 Application 1 – Producing synthetic reel
9.2.3 Application 2 – Producing natural reel
9.3 VETRORESINA PADANA CASE
9.3.1 Overview of the manufacturing systems
9.3.2 Application 1- producing California 90 PE
9.3.3 Application 2 – Delivering California PE
9.4 CONCLUSIONS
9.5 REFERENCES OF THE CHAPTER
Chapter 10 – Conclusions
10.1 INTRODUCTION
10.2 CONCLUSIONS ON THE FIRST PART OF THE THESIS 254
10.3 CONCLUSIONS ON THE SECOND PART OF THE THESIS
10.3.1 Limits and advantages of the proposed model
10.3.2 Further developments 261
10.4 CONCLUSIONS OF THE CONCLUSION

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