Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 10-31-1996

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Electrical Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

MengChu Zhou

Second Advisor

Reggie J. Caudill

Third Advisor

John D. Carpinelli

Fourth Advisor

Nirwan Ansari

Fifth Advisor

Edwin Hou


A flexible manufacturing system (FMS) is a computerized production system that can simultaneously manufacture multiple types of products using various resources such as robots and multi-purpose machines. The central problems associated with design of flexible manufacturing systems are related to process planning, scheduling, coordination control, and monitoring. Many methods exist for scheduling and control of flexible manufacturing systems, although very few methods have addressed the complexity of whole FMS operations. This thesis presents a Petri net based method for deadlock-free scheduling and discrete event control of flexible manufacturing systems. A significant advantage of Petri net based methods is their powerful modeling capability. Petri nets can explicitly and concisely model the concurrent and asynchronous activities, multi-layer resource sharing, routing flexibility, limited buffers and precedence constraints in FMSs. Petri nets can also provide an explicit way for considering deadlock situations in FMSs, and thus facilitate significantly the design of a deadlock-free scheduling and control system.

The contributions of this work are multifold. First, it develops a methodology for discrete event controller synthesis for flexible manufacturing systems in a timed Petri net framework. The resulting Petri nets have the desired qualitative properties of liveness, boundedness (safeness), and reversibility, which imply freedom from deadlock, no capacity overflow, and cyclic behavior, respectively. This precludes the costly mathematical analysis for these properties and reduces on-line computation overhead to avoid deadlocks. The performance and sensitivity of resulting Petri nets, thus corresponding control systems, are evaluated. Second, it introduces a hybrid heuristic search algorithm based on Petri nets for deadlock-free scheduling of flexible manufacturing systems. The issues such as deadlock, routing flexibility, multiple lot size, limited buffer size and material handling (loading/unloading) are explored. Third, it proposes a way to employ fuzzy dispatching rules in a Petri net framework for multi-criterion scheduling. Finally, it shows the effectiveness of the developed methods through several manufacturing system examples compared with benchmark dispatching rules, integer programming and Lagrangian relaxation approaches.



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