1 Department of Manufacturing Engineering, Technical University of Denmark2 Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark
rends in thefield of manufacturing point at the need to develop more agilemanufacturing systems that can deal with the problems that global competition poses. Manufacturers are experiencing increaseddemands for more customised products and decreasing product lifecycles. Thus they need to develop manufacturing systems that candeal with continuously changing requirements while decreasing the time-to-market of their products. However, current controlsystems for manufacturing are characterised by rigid top-downstructures, which struggle to take account of all eventualities,and are not sufficient to cope with the new dynamic environment. The novel notion regardingHolonic Manufacturing Systems (HMS) theory emerged as one of the promising approaches to deal with the needs of the futuremanufacturing business. The dissertation reviews this theory incomparison with others and shows that it presents a potentiallyadvantageous framework for achieving agility in manufacturing systems. The research was aimed at developing a system-architecturefor a Holonic Multi-cell Control System (HoMuCS). This was performed using the conceptual framework presented by the HMS reference architecture in an attempt to implement it in practice. An iterative developmentprocess was used to obtain the empiricalbasis for the research work. This involved development of prototypes aimed at testing the feasibility of the theory and investigating its applicability. The main issue that the prototypes were tested for was their agile performance, in otherwords their ability to deal with change. Since agility can be characterised as a performance measure of a SFC system it was necessary to show that a HoMuCS inherently yields agile performance. This is the main result of the research work and confirms two main assumptions that were defined as the hypothesis of the research. Firstly that it is possible to realise holonic systems based on the HMS theory, specifically its reference architecture, and secondly that they are in fact agile. Itpresents the concept of a Holonic Multi-cell Control System system-architecture and corresponding methodology, which suggests a solution for realising an agile shop floor control system. The current state of the technological development of the HoMuCS architecture and methodology is described.