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Distributed manufacturing execution systems: A workflow perspective

Research of manufacturing execution systems (MESs) has been conducted to integrate ERP and physical operational systems, so a fully automated and integrated manufacturing management environment can be developed. However, as subcontracting becomes common in industries, a single MES is not enough and it is necessary to develop distributed MESs to integrate the distributed operations. This research proposes a distributed workflow model to develop such a system. In the workflow model, there are three cooperation types for defining the relationships between action and resources. Six relational patterns are defined for the relationships between actions. This research also reviews current information technologies, including data acquisition and control (DAC) components, control software’s, ASP .NET, and CLIPS, for supporting the development of distributed workflow models. Additionally, this research proposes using a collaborative workflow-based protocol (CWP) to form a distributed workflow. CWP is based on the integration of Internet technology and CLIPS. It is found that the proposed structure may ease the decision process of forming a distributed workflow. In summary, this article reports a cutting edge approach for the development of distributed manufacturing execution systems. The results show solutions for integrating high-level planning systems, such as ERP, and low-level operational systems through information technologies.

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