From the earliest days of mass production in the automotive industry there has been a
progressive move towards the use of flexible manufacturing systems that cater for
product variants that meet market demands. In recent years this market has become
more demanding with pressures from legislation, globalisation and increased
customer expectations. This has lead to the current trends of mass customisation in
In order to support this manufacturing systems are not only becoming more flexible†
to cope with the increased product variants, but also more agile‡ such that they may
respond more rapidly to market changes. Modularisation§ is widely used to increase
the agility of automation systems, such that they may be more readily reconfigured¶.
Also with globalisation into India and Asia semi-automatic machines (machines that
interact with human operators) are more frequently used to reduce capital outlay and
increase flexibility. There is an increasing need for tools and methodologies that
support this in order to improve design robustness, reduce design time and gain a
competitive edge in the market.
The research presented in this thesis is built upon the work from
COMPAG/COMPANION (COMponent- based Paradigm for AGile automation, and
COmmon Model for PArtNers in automatION), and as part of the BDA (Business
Driven Automation), SOCRADES (Service Oriented Cross-layer infrastructure for
Distributed smart Embedded deviceS), and IMC-AESOP (ArchitecturE for Service-
Oriented Process – monitoring and control) projects conducted at Loughborough
This research details the design and implementation of a toolkit for building and
simulating automation systems comprising components with behaviour described
using Finite State Machines (FSM). The research focus is the development of the
engineering toolkit that can support the automation system lifecycle from initial
design through commissioning to maintenance and reconfiguration as well as the
integration of a virtual human. This is achieved using a novel data structure that
supports component definitions for control, simulation, maintenance and the novel
integration of a virtual human into the automation system operation.
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.