Restructuring a large scale discrete manufacturing plant as a holonic system

Development of generic methodology for the restructuring of
large scale manufacturing unit by division into autonomous
units. These self-organising, self-optimising modules
(holons) will work in shrunken (flat or loose) hierarchies.

The main philosophy of the project is based on the generic structure of holonic manufacturing systems. The holonic manufacturing approach basically necessitates the development of the following key elements: 1. Existing rigid, static and centralised hierarchical organisation must be replaced by flattened and network- like organisation. 2. The large scale manufacturing unit, like a virtual enterprise must be composed of widely autonomous and cooperative holonic work units (companies). 3. The orders, based on the whole product life cycle, must be broken down into tasks and circulate on the communications network among the holonic work units. It is expected that the use of reference architectures can facilitate and accelerate the modelling process. The project team will propose to select the most suitable reference architecture and to customise it to the specific needs and requirements based on the holonic manufacturing paradigm. This customising process includes formal and syntactical changes, the supplement of structures which have not yet been part of the reference architecture but which are relevant for the enterprise, and the deletion of structures from the reference architecture which are not relevant for the enterprise. The reference architecture to be proposed by the project team must be handled considering the following models: 1. Functional model: a consistent description of the functionality of the holonic work units. 2. Technology model: an appropriate definition of the application of technology to ensure the autonomous operation of the holonic work units. 3. Physical model: a description of the physical development of the holonic work units to achieve the adequate cooperation within the enterprise. 4. Communication model: a sufficient and consistent description of the information and data structures to be circulated and the interfaces among the holonic work units to ensure the development of the effective communication within the enterprise. The proposed structure of TAKSAN can be defined as flexible value-added partnership. This term emphasizes a flexible and collective structure composed of several independent companies combining their capabilities to create new business opportunities which it is not possible for any of the individual companies to achieve on their own. The approach is order-oriented and based on relationships of people and capabilities available within the companies constantly being redefined and reconfigured. The project can also be regarded as a reference model considering its scope which involves the means of a transition stage for privatization. In this respect, the project has a complementary nature in regard to the previously launched project of KOSGEB, (a small and medium industry development organisation of TURKEY), in which it has already been aimed to develop separate work units under the existing structure of TAKSAN and to provide them with the necessary machine tools, education for manufacturing and work orders. This project will maintain an appropriate basis for the KOSGEB project and provide a technical guidance. Being a new model for privatization and restructing, it is hoped to find partners at an international level, from those countries which have the similar problems for transition from hierarchical structures to loose hierarchies. Another promising nature of the proposed structure is that, it might be possible for developed international companies to take part as a holonic work unit in the new structure. In this way, all the partners being the holonic work units will face a competition which will naturally force them to enhance their capabilities in both technical and managerial level. * Feasibility: Why a holonic approach? With decreasing product life cycles and requirement for flexibility, the functional requirements for manufacturing systems are constantly changing. This creates an ever increasing need for manufacturing systems which evolve. The evolution may be considered as a series of frequent incremental changes allowing the manufacturing system to adapt to changing requirements. The holonic manufacturing paradigm reveals how complex systems in general are able to evolve in demanding environments and deducts two basic properties which successful complex systems exhibit: autonomy and cooperation. The pardigm introduces the term holon of autonomous cooperative work units. Keeping the above-mentioned facts in mind, the methodology to be developed will be justified on the following grounds: 1. Scale of economic activity of prospective holonic work units. 2. Technological divisibility of tasks. 3. Maintainability of job orders. 4. Market sustainability. 5. Suitability of human assets. 6. Suitability of technological assets. * Definition: Conceptual design. The analysis of the effective factors determined in the feasibility phase of the project will lead to the definition and design of the internal structure of the functional modules. From this viewpoint, the functional modules might be broadly outlined as follows: 1. Holon formation. 2. Master production scheduling. 3. Work load allocation. 4. Schedule monitoring. 5. Performance tracking of holonic work units. * Implementation This phase mainly includes the development of holonic work units and aims at maintaining the integration among them. The success of the generic methodology highly depends on the interaction and cooperation among the functional modules. For this reason, a management philosophy will be developed to support a broad analysis of the facilities, products, procedures and human resources to launch autonomous business based on the structure of the funtional modules. The developed software will be tested in TAKSAN and modified to accommodate additional flexibilities and complexities which will be required during the implementation phase. * Full exploitation This phase includes five main sub-phases: 1. The implemenation of the computer assisted production management philosophy for the organisation of the production activities within the pilot plant(s). 2. The development of holonic work units including the physical (similar to machine tools), financial and managerial requirements being the inevitable factors for autonomy. 3. The enhancement of human capabilities by extensive education programmes throughout the whole project duration. 4. Evaluation and improvement of the system performance. 5. Seeking and creating new market opportunities.
Project ID: 
1 584
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
650 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.