Process Planning and Scheduling for Distributed Manufacturing

Lihui Wang,

Process Planning and Scheduling for Distributed Manufacturing
Manufacturing has been one of the key areas that support and influence a nation’s economy since the 18th century. Being the primary driving force in economic growth, manufacturing constantly serves as the foundation of and contributes to other industries with products ranging from heavy-duty machinery to hi-tech home electronics. In the past centuries, manufacturing has contributed significantly to modern civilisation and created momentum that is used to drive today’s economy. Despite various revolutionary changes and innovations in the 20th century that contributed to manufacturing advancements, we are still facing new challenges when striving to achieve greater success in winning global competitions. Today, distributed manufacturing is unforeseeably coming into being due to recent business decentralisation and manufacturing outsourcing. Manufacturers are competing in a dynamic marketplace that demands short response time to changing markets and agility in production. In the 21st century, manufacturing is gradually shifting to a distributed environment with increasing dynamism. In order to win a competition, locally or globally, customer satisfaction is treated with priority. This leads to mass customisation and even more complex manufacturing processes, from shop floors to every level along manufacturing supply chains. At the same time, outsourcing has forged a multi-tier supplier structure with numerous small-- medium-sized enterprises involved, where highly-mixed products in small batch sizes are handled simultaneously in job-shop operations.

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