Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering


Engineering, Mechanical.


North, W. P. T.,




In an increasingly automated environment, the control of material handling tasks in a goods distribution center is an activity which requires the fusion of various disciplines of engineering in order to identify the appropriate automation tools which could prove beneficial. Various factors influence the effectiveness of automated equipment in a goods distribution centre. It is necessary to control not only scheduling and routing of goods, but also material handling equipment, which are becoming increasingly autonomous. This dissertation addresses the problem of devising a control system so that (a) material flow and (b) material handling equipment are both controlled. A discrete event modelling formalism is employed, and the concept of fuzzy logic is applied for controlling an automated goods transporting device. This approach is a significant departure from currently used techniques of modelling control in a distribution center, and opens up a very broad based research area. The growing body of knowledge about intelligent control and knowledge based systems is an area of research which is very active. Control of automated vehicles is a thoroughly explored area, and answers are waiting for the appropriate questions. This dissertation adopts an integrated approach to the problem of modelling material handling automation, taking into consideration the twin aspects of equipment control and control of goods flow. The discrete event modelling formalism has been employed and autonomous positioning control has been modelled and simulated considering adaptive and fuzzy control strategies. The constraints to automated guided vehicle velocity are discussed and a simulation study in SIMAN, a simulation and analysis software, is performed to examine the variation of queue length for a range of AGV velocities and pallet interarrival times. The objective behind the simulation is to come up with AGV velocities and pallet interarrival rates for which the system would perform satisfactorily. This is an essential part of designing for autonomous control.Dept. of Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis1996 .B38. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 59-08, Section: B, page: 4402. Advisers: W. P. T. North; S. P. Dutta. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 1997.