In: International Journal of Flexible Manufacturing Systems, Vol. 7, No. 4, pages 339-360. 1995.
Abstract: We propose a CAD tool, XPN-FMS, which is primarily based on a unique Petri net (PN) synthesis method, called the knitting technique, developed by the authors. Petri net theory has been applied to specification, validation, performance analysis, control code generation, and simulation for manufacturing systems. The analysis of flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs) based on PNs suffers from the complexity problem of reachability analysis (Peterson, 1981). CAD tools are urgently needed. There is no existing CAD tool for FMSs as comprehensive as XPN-FMS, in the sense that the latter integrates the functions of drawing, analysis, reduction (Chao and Wang, 1992; Murata and Koh, 1980), synthesis, property queries, and animation of FMS operations in one software package. Using the X window graphical interface and animation, XPN-FMS makes the modeling and analysis of an FMS visualizable and easy to understand and manipulate. It lets a user draw the factory layout of an FMS on the screen of a monitor using the supplied tools. A corresponding PN model can also be drawn on the monitor screen. XPN-FMS can animate and simulate the overall operating process of the FMS. It is useful for FMS specification, validation, and exploration of different design alternatives, status monitoring, and control. Using XPN-FMS with various inputs and comparing the resulting outputs, the user can determine how to improve efficiency, reduce cost, and pinpoint bottlenecks. For the PN models of FMSs that are decision free, we extend the theory and algorithm of a unique matrix-based method (Chao and Wang, 1993b) to search for subcritical loops (including types A and B) and to support scheduling and dealing with transition periods. XPN-FMS implements this extended method to find the minimum cycle time, critical loop, subcritical loops, next critical loop, and scheduling ranges to avoid the transient period for static scheduling. This is implemented in XPN-FMS for the input sequence control.
Keywords: Petri nets, concurrent systems, knitting technique, manufacturing systems, performance evaluation.
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