Title: Software agents-enabled systems coalition for integrated manufacturing processes and supply chain management

Authors: Shaw C. Feng, Heli Helaakoski, Harri Haapasalo, Janne Kipina

Addresses: Manufacturing Engineering Laboratory, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8260, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20899, USA. ' VTT Electronics, PO Box 3, Rantakatu 5, FIN-92100 Raahe, Finland. ' Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Oulu, PO Box 4610, FIN-90014 Oulu, Finland. ' Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Oulu, Rantakatu 5, FIN-92100 Raahe, Finland

Abstract: Most business negotiations in supply chain and information exchange in manufacturing processes are heavily human-involved using proprietary data formats. The processes of negotiation and information exchange are usually time consuming and unreliable even in routine tasks. Software agents have been increasingly explored to improve the information flow and the decision-making process within networked manufacturing enterprises. In order to use agents in manufacturing applications, a software agent-enabled process integration framework for manufacturing and supply chain management has been developed and is described in this paper. The framework includes agent architectures, interaction protocols, message exchanges, an ontological engineering environment, business rules and knowledge bases and databases. The initial implementation of the framework has been tested by a prototype multi-agent system in a steel product business network and a manufacturing network.

Keywords: agent architecture; autonomous agents; manufacturing planning; multi-agent systems; supply chain management; SCM; systems integration; integrated manufacturing; agent-based systems; software agents; ontology; steel products; information flow; information exchange.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMTM.2007.013183

International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management, 2007 Vol.11 No.2, pp.157 - 173

Published online: 11 Apr 2007 *

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