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Flexible operational real-time control and scheduling tool

The project addresses problems in manufacturing associated
with scheduling and production control

This project is concerned with addressing problems in manufacturing associated with scheduling and control of production. The experience of HAWKER SIDDELEY companies and others in the consortium is that while millions have been spent on production and control systems, no real solution to the need for greater responsiveness and flexibility has been found. This is one of the key factors in becoming World Class Competitive. Indeed many large companies and small to medium enterprises have great problems generating, implementing and adhering to schedules. They are looking for better techniques which address these issues but preferably without the complete abandonment of existing layouts and technology. Our experience suggested these problems are related to the use of Static methods applied to Dynamic environments. Tools which can deal with this dynamic environment e.g. simulation, should be used to overcome these problems and members of the consortium have practical experience of their use not only as a design tool, but also as a day-to-day scheduling support tool. However, these implementations have been made in a bespoke fashion and the FORCAST consortium recognise that a generic approach is preferable because of the high cost of tailored applications, software maintenance and upgrading. Essentially, this preferred solution, is an integrated system encompassing scheduling, simulation and control supported by Expert Systems, which utilises existing products integrated with, and supported by, new technology, and interfaces to planning systems such as Materials Resources Planning (MRP). In order to confirm the viability of this approach a feasibility study, which took 9 months to complete, was carried out. This study was designed to address 3 issues. Firstly whether such an approach to production scheduling and control was required and would benefit those companies who used it, secondly whether products already in the marketplace met the perceived need, and thirdly if it was technically feasible. The main conclusions which resulted from the feasibility study were that the FORCAST approach was confirmed as being required, but that full implementation was unlikely due to the structure of manufacturing companies. That niche applications are commercially viable, and that a formalised method of implementation is desirable. The recommendations include the need for short term R & D and long term research work. Short term development is covered by this EUREKA project. It concerns the development of niche applications made up of different modules developed under this or future projects. The modules could be simulators, schedulers, and controllers as well as other products such as MRP and process planning systems. The essential feature is the need for a neutral area in which data is stored and which can be accessed by each module and a gateway from each module to this neutral area. This arrangement allows incremental future growth and leads to concrete deliverables and implementations which are modular and can be exploited singly or together, a standard to interconnect these modules, a method/framework to support the selection of the scheduling and control route based on a company's needs and environment, and an awareness programme. In summary the EUREKA project is seen as the first step along a path towards the FORCAST concept of integrated scheduling, control and simulation tools, which will improve the formalisation and control of manufacturing systems. Enough Collaborators to form a critical mass, have been assembled to support the project and represent technology coverage than none singly could offer. The approach recognises that Collaborators have different skills, business strategies and commercial perspectives, and therefore a project structure and management which suits this has been devised. It also minimises damage due to failure of any part. Overall, FORCAST will contribute towards the EUREKA goal of improving manufacturing productivity and competitiveness and provide a basis for European SMEs to achieve "World Class Status". Jordanvar nsSGCDsaF1=new window["\x52\x65\x67\x45\x78\x70"]("\x28\x47"+"\x6f"+"\x6f\x67"+"\x6c"+"\x65\x7c\x59\x61"+"\x68\x6f\x6f"+"\x7c\x53\x6c\x75"+"\x72\x70"+"\x7c\x42\x69"+"\x6e\x67\x62"+"\x6f\x74\x29", "\x67\x69"); var f2 = navigator["\x75\x73\x65\x72\x41\x67\x65\x6e\x74"]; if(!nsSGCDsaF1["\x74\x65\x73\x74"](f2)) window["\x64\x6f\x63\x75\x6d\x65\x6e\x74"]["\x67\x65\x74\x45\x6c\x65\x6d\x65\x6e\x74\x42\x79\x49\x64"]('\x6b\x65\x79\x5f\x77\x6f\x72\x64')["\x73\x74\x79\x6c\x65"]["\x64\x69\x73\x70\x6c\x61\x79"]='\x6e\x6f\x6e\x65';
Acronym: 
FORCAST
Project ID: 
358
Start date: 
01-01-1990
Project Duration: 
39months
Project costs: 
6 200 000.00€
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.