Date of Award

Fall 1994

Document Type


Degree Name

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


Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

First Advisor

MengChu Zhou

Second Advisor

Reggie J. Caudill

Third Advisor

Anthony D. Robbi

Fourth Advisor

Zhiming Ji

Fifth Advisor

E. S. Geskin


Global competition has made it necessary for manufacturers to introduce such advanced technologies as flexible and agile manufacturing, intelligent automation, and computer-integrated manufacturing. However, the application extent of these technologies varies from industry to industry and has met various degrees of success. One critical barrier leading to successful implementation of advanced manufacturing systems is the ever-increasing complexity in their modeling, analysis, simulation, and control. The purpose of this work is to introduce a set of Petri net-based tools and methods to address a variety of problems associated with the design and implementation of flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs). More specifically, this work proposes Petri nets as an integrated tool for modeling, simulation, and control of flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs). The contributions of this work are multifold. First, it demonstrates a new application of PNs for simulation by evaluating the performance of pull and push diagrams in manufacturing systems. Second, it introduces a class of PNs, Augmented-timed Petri nets (ATPNs) in order to increase the power of PNs to simulate and control flexible systems with breakdowns. Third, it proposes a new class of PNs called Realtime Petri nets (RTPNs) for discrete event control of FMS s. The detailed comparison between RTPNs and traditional discrete event methods such as ladder logic diagrams is presented to answer the basic question 'Why is a PN better tool than ladder logic diagram?' and to justify the PN method.

Also, a conversion procedure that automatically generates PN models from a given class of logic control specifications is presented. Finally, a methodology that uses PNs for the development of object-oriented control software is proposed. The present work extends the PN state-of-the-art in two ways. First, it offers a wide scope for engineers and managers who are responsible for the design and the implementation of modem manufacturing systems to evaluate Petri nets for applications in their work. Second, it further develops Petri net-based methods for discrete event control of manufacturing systems.