The refinement in consumer's requirements and the fast paced development of socio-technical systems, are promoting, increasingly globalized markets with a high demand for fast time-to-market, sustainable, high quality and highly customized, or even personalized, low priced products. This new reality is forcing companies to change and adapt their business strategies, so that they can quickly and efficiently engage in short-window business opportunities. A critical enabler of the companies' ability to tackle these opportunities is the shopfloor and its ability to cope with change. In this sense, a number of modern manufacturing paradigms emerged, that propose a relaxation of the strictness of the control chains and new modular system designs, that tolerate a controlled and regulated unpredictability of the system behaviour, and simultaneously foster the system's autonomy, robustness, adaptability, plug-ability, evolution and self-organisation.
From a structural and dynamic perspective such solutions become, therefore, close to biological systems. In fact, biological systems and their characteristics are a common analogy to express the high level design principles, of modern production paradigms. However, despite this common source of inspiration, the application of bio-inspired concepts, is often lost due to design and implementation choices, or is simply limited to heuristic approaches, that solve specific hard optimization problems.
In this dissertation, a bio-inspired reference architecture for production systems, focused on highly dynamic environments, denominated "BIO-inspired Self-Organising ARchitecture for Manufacturing systems" (BIOSOARM), is presented. BIOSOARM was developed under the umbrella of Evolvable Production Systems (EPS) and aims to strictly adhere to bio-inspired principles. For this purpose, both shopfloor components and product parts are individualized and extended into the virtual environment, as fully decoupled autonomous entities, where they interact, following bio-inspired patterns, and cooperate towards the emergence of a self-organising behaviour, that leads to the emergence of the necessary production flows and consequently of the desired products. BIOSOARM, therefore, introduces a fundamentally novel approach to production, that decouples the system's operation from eventual changes, uncertainty or even critical failures, while simultaneously ensures the performance levels and simplifies the deployment, reconfiguration/adaptation and evolution procedures, enabling companies to cope with the new highly dynamic and challenging environments.
Stockholm: Kungliga Tekniska högskolan, 2016. , 261 p.
Bio-inspired production systems, Self-organisation, Cyber-physical production systems