Modelling manufacturing planning and control systems: the application of object-oriented principles and discrete-event simulation
This thesis argues that the fit between the planning and control system and the manufacturing organisation is a crucial element of success. The design of appropriate control systems is, therefore, important. The different approaches to the design of manufacturing planning and control systems are investigated. It is concluded that there is no provision within these design methodologies to properly assess the impact of a proposed design on the manufacturing facility. Consequently, an understanding of how a new (or modified) planning and control system will perform in the context of the complete manufacturing system is unlikely to be gained until after the system has been implemented and is running. There are many modelling techniques available, however discrete-event simulation is unique in its ability to model the complex dynamics inherent in manufacturing systems, of which the planning and control system is an integral component. The existing application of simulation to manufacturing control system issues is limited: although operational issues are addressed, application to the more fundamental design of control systems is rarely, if at all, considered. The lack of a suitable simulation-based modelling tool does not help matters. The requirements of a simulation tool capable of modelling a host of different planning and control systems is presented. It is argued that only through the application of object-oriented principles can these extensive requirements be achieved. This thesis reports on the development of an extensible class library called WBS/Control, which is based on object-oriented principles and discrete-event simulation. The functionality, both current and future, offered by WBS/Control means that different planning and control systems can be modelled: not only the more standard implementations but also hybrid systems and new designs. The flexibility implicit in the development of WBS/Control supports its application to design and operational issues. WBS/Control wholly integrates with an existing manufacturing simulator to provide a more complete modelling environment.