Title: Evaluating the Prometheus methodology through a case study on designing an agent-based holonic control system

Authors: Martyn Fletcher

Addresses: Department of Cybernetics, Czech Technical University, Prague, Czech Republic

Abstract: An agent-based manufacturing system is a new breed of industrial control environment where autonomous software entities, called agents, cooperate to manage the hardware in a factory in a decentralised and intelligent manner. These control systems allow new product families to be introduced on the fly and empower the machinery to late-customise products. This paper analyses the applicability of Prometheus, one of the popular methodologies for designing general-purpose agent-based systems. The paper examines how useful Prometheus is for designing agent-based industrial control systems. An industrial-strength, flexible material-handling environment provides the experimental test-bed for this analysis. The key conclusion is that this methodology is very suitable for developing static interactions between agents, but lacks sufficient power to handle several of the requirements associated with a real-world industrial environment, e.g., openness of new agent types and services, system development using bottom-up design approaches and dynamic reconfiguration of the manufacturing processes.

Keywords: holonic manufacturing systems; HMSs; intelligent software agents; Prometheus; agent-based systems; multi-agent systems; manufacturing control; materials handling; reconfigurable manufacturing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMR.2007.014729

International Journal of Manufacturing Research, 2007 Vol.2 No.3, pp.342 - 361

Available online: 02 Aug 2007 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article