Date of Award
Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering
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Today’s automotive manufacturing environment is dynamic. It is characterized by short life cycles of products especially in powertrain, due in part to changing Government regulations for fuel economy. In the USA, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA), Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) mandates an average of 29 miles per gallon (mpg), gradually increasing to 35.5 mpg by 2016 and 54.5 mpg towards 2025. Life cycles of engines and transmissions have consequently shortened, driving automakers to develop and manufacture more efficient powertrains. Not long ago, plants produced engines for decades, with minor modifications warranting slight manufacturing line rework. Conversely, today’s changing trends require machines and complete engine line overhauls rendering initial setups obsolete. Automakers compete to satisfy government regulations for best mileage and also lower manufacturing cost, thus the adoption of Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems (RMS). Production lines follow modularity in designs, for hardware and software, to adapt to new business conditions, economically and time-wise. Information Technology (IT) and Controls are growing closer with the line of demarcation disappearing in manufacturing. Controls are benefiting from opportunities in IT, hardware and software. The advent of agent-based technology which are autonomous, cooperative and extendible in different production activities, helped to develop controls for RMS in academia. Component-based software suitable for RMS modularity and plug-and-play hardware/software components has gained decades of popularity in the software industry. This thesis implements distributed controls imbedding component-based technology and IEC 61311-3 function block standard for automotive engine assembly, which will contribute to these developments. The control architecture provides reconfigurability which is lacking in current manufacturing systems. The research imbeds: 1- Reconfigurability - Fitting RMS-designed hardware towards new manufacturing, 2- Reusability - Building software library for reuse across assembly lines, and 3- Plug-and-Play - Embedding easy to assemble software components (function blocks).
Tabti, Hamid, "Design of a Control System for a Reconfigurable Engine Assembly Line" (2015). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5329.