Xu, Zhijie (2004) eMROM – A Web-based e-Manufacturing Modelling System. In: Proceedings of the 34th International MATADOR Conference: formerly the International Machine Tool Design and Research Conferences. Springer, London, pp. 405-410. ISBN 978-1-85233-880-0

Broader product ranges, shorter model lifetimes, and the ability to process orders in arbitrary lot sizes are becoming the norm in today’s manufacturing industry. The information processing capability to treat masses of customers as individuals is permitting more and more companies to offer individualized products while maintain high volumes of production. The convergence of Intranet and Internet technologies is making it possible for groups of companies to coordinate geographically and institutionally distributed capabilities into a single “Virtual Enterprise”, and in the process, achieve powerful competitive advantages. The key for ensuring the success of a “Virtual Enterprise” is to maintain agilities at-all-level in the organization and cross the whole spectrum of a complete product lifecycle. The main difficulty for achieving the promised agility lies on the effort to not just loosely bind all activities at the level of marking, design, organization, production, management, and human-resources together but to integrate them into a unified and efficient infrastructure where resource and information can flow freely and orderly to all sections in the virtual enterprise.

This paper reports efforts being made in the project to research an effective and efficient information infrastructure for sustaining e-Manufacturing processes. It focuses on the methodology in enabling data integration, management and handling among various distributed data platforms. A prototype J2EE-based e-manufacturing system was constructed in the project and explained in the paper to demonstrate the information integration aspect of various manufacturing phases. In the system design, the front end ordering system, the middle layer distributed virtual enterprise, and the production control systems are integrated using Java technologies. The plant-floor control is simulated in a virtual manufacturing cell and the verified operation plan can be transferred to a java-enabled real manufacturing cell.

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