Network simulation models of lean manufacturing systems in digital factories and an intranet server balancing algorithm

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Networking needs sound methods, new management style and practices that are based on cooperation, respect and trust. This is fundamental because networking means sharing and exchanging quality information at all levels of the digital enterprise. In order to achieve the maximum benefits of lean manufacturing systems operating in digital factories, one of the most important eTransition rules to follow is to establish distributed, intranet networking between able people and machines - including the workstations, cells and manufacturing lines - within a line balanced client/server architecture. This 'meaningful exchange of quality information' should happen between individual intranet-web-enabled machines, devices, workstations, and robot controllers and their sensor-controlled auxiliary devices. Furthermore, cells need to communicate with each other, as well as with their cell/line control computer, as well as with the digital factory production control systems, with quality control systems - ensuring that quality is checked at the process level (i.e. in-process) - and even with the programming and design offices, in order to gain valuable feedback from the shop floor. In this paper we introduce some of the most important network planning and engineering management principles and rules, offer simulation examples, using the OPNET IT-Guru network simulation package, and a fast server balancing algorithm that manufacturing cell and system designers, and digital factory networkers should keep in mind when preparing for eTransition. (Note that our methods are generic, analytical and open-source computational, and therefore can be applied to a wide-range of application challenges.).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-282
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Issue number4-5
StatePublished - Jun 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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