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Synthesising process controllers from formal models of transformable assembly systems

De Silva, Lavindra; Felli, Paolo; Sanderson, David; Chaplin, Jack C; Logan, Brian; Ratchev, Svetan

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Lavindra De Silva

Paolo Felli

Brian Logan

Cripps Professor of Production Engineering & Head of Research Division


When producing complex and highly customisable products in low volumes (or in 'batch sizes of one'), automation of production systems is critical for competitiveness and profitability in high labour-cost economies. To facilitate batch-size-of-one production, 'topology generation', 'realisability', and 'control' algorithms have been developed as part of the Evolvable Assembly Systems (EAS) project. The topology generation algorithm computes all the possible sequences of parallel activities that assembly resources can perform on parts and is run offline whenever the layout of the production facility changes, whereas realisability checking and controller generation are performed at run-time to check whether a production facility with a given set of assembly resources can assemble a desired product, and how the product should be assembled, e.g., which resources to use, and when. Generated controllers are output in Business to Manufacturing Markup Language (B2MML). Taken together, the algorithms thus represent a step toward a complete path from the formal specification of an assembly system and the products to be assembled, to the automated synthesis of executable process plans. This paper presents each algorithm in sufficient detail to allow their reimplementation by other researchers. Topology generation is the most expensive step in the approach. A preliminary experimental evaluation of the scalability of topology generation is presented, which suggests that, for small to medium sized production facilities, the time required for recomputing the topology is sufficiently small not to preclude frequent factory transformations, e.g., the addition of new resources.


De Silva, L., Felli, P., Sanderson, D., Chaplin, J. C., Logan, B., & Ratchev, S. (2019). Synthesising process controllers from formal models of transformable assembly systems. Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 58, 130-144.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 17, 2019
Online Publication Date Mar 8, 2019
Publication Date Aug 31, 2019
Deposit Date Jan 25, 2019
Publicly Available Date Mar 9, 2020
Journal Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing
Print ISSN 0736-5845
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 58
Pages 130-144
Keywords Evolvable Assembly Systems; Controller Synthesis; Standardisation † This paper extends and subsumes the work published in [11]
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Synthesising process controllers from formal models of transformable assembly systems; Journal Title: Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: © 2019 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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