The main objective of the project is the evaluation and preliminary development of an advanced layer on top of agile scheduling system prototype, previously developed at The New University of Lisbon (UNL) with the participation of the Brazilian partner from Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC). The advanced MASSYVE layer will extend the system towards a virtual enterprise. Furthermore, in MASSYVE, the extension of this layer with PEER federated database management system, developed at The University of Amsterdan (UvA), and the production planning and control system (PPC), developed by CSIN company, will be evaluated. Complementarily, several information dissemination actions will be organized.
The following specific objectives are envisaged in this project:
implantation and extension of the MASSYVE system prototype at UFSC, to be experimented for low cost computational platforms, mainly devoted to SMEs;
use, evaluation and possible adaptation of the European information technology (IT) and some software from the partners, in the development of the MASSYVE prototype, tailored to Brazilian conditions;
information dissemination and exchange of expertise in the field of production and advanced IT, between the Brazilian members / institutions and those of the EU (European Union), as well as getting a feedback from the Brazilian industry about its current views, problems, needs and trends;
continuous dissemination of the advanced IT technologies coming from the project, by means of teaching and post-graduation activities;
on going research in the field of manufacturing scheduling, also contributing to other related projects;
launching a research group on virtual enterprises in Brazil and contribute to the establishing of links between Brazilian companies and EU industry;
promotion of EU standards and codes of best practice in Brazil.
Enhancement of the definition of agile scheduling towards a VE means the provision of conditions for enterprises to run under a truly on-line just-in-time system. Nevertheless, the development of a scheduling system that can support the full requirements within a VE scenario is still a challenge. Beyond the complexity of this high level coordination, the new required functionalities for the scheduling systems are not yet precisely defined. Moreover, the more suitable technologies which can be applied on information integration and communication infrastructures are still under design and development. In fact, in spite of the results produced by running international research projects in the VE domain, as well as some commercial software products already available in the market, the necessary mechanisms and technology to fully support the VE requirements are still to mature.
Manufacturing environment is intrinsically distributed, with a high level of decentralization and autonomy as a support platform for agile decision-making. The already developed prototype 'HOLOS' uses a Multiagent / Negotiation-based approach, but the system functionalities and the high level negotiation should be extended to support a more abstract communication with the planning / logistics level, incorporating more business-oriented functions and messages. This project will evaluate the requirements for such extensions and will carry out some experimental developments in this direction taking into account the needs of SMEs.