Hierarchical Management and Control in Manufacturing Systems

HIMAC - 8141

Work Area: Theories and Models for the Design of Heterogeneous Systems

Keywords hierarchical control systems, factory, dynamics, process modelling, production planning & scheduling, information technology, mass production, one-of-a-kind production

Start Date: to be announced / Status: starting

[ participants / contact ]

Abstract HIMAC aims at developing mathematical theories and methodologies for improving present design procedures in manufacturing, with emphasis on control systems and the realisation of hierarchical and modular production management. Main theories to be developed are: 1) algebraic tools for the description of products and relevant manufacturing operations; 2) state equations for the dynamics of factories and production flows; 3) hierarchical control theory of the production processes providing a design methodology for control modules valid at any hierarchical level; 4) neural network algorithms as an alternative methodology. Theoretical results will be tested on manufacturing test cases, and links to present and future IT-technology will be investigated.


HIMAC addresses the theme of management and real-time control in manufacturing enterprises, subject to both exogenous and endogenous random events as well as to planned constraints. The most common and practical way to cope with such a complex and challenging problem is to use hierarchical management and control systems. In such systems, decisions and commands are taken top-down: the optimal plan at a given level providing reference to the lower control level. Disturbance and random events are attenuated or absorbed bottom-up; however it is common that discrepancies between optimal plans and actual production easily propagate and drift bottom-up; forcing recalculations of higher-level plans, which reveal themselves as not optimal or worse unfeasible. What is missing is a unifying methodology for the design of the various levels of the hierarchy, based on a specific mathematical formulation of the production phenomena taking place in factories. The main objective of this project is to fill in this gap, taking advantage of preliminary studies, results and experience of the partners.

Approach and Methods

The project will develop along the following lines:


The results are expected to lay the foundations for developing a new generation of IT-based production control systems applicable to any discrete manufacturing process. The research results should have impacts on CIM methods, standards and products.


EICAS Automazione S.p.A. - I
Via Vela 27
I- 10128 TORINO


Universität Karlsruhe - D
INRIA Lorraine - F
Technical University of Crete - GR


Prof. M. Vallauri
tel +39/11 5623798
fax +39/11 4360679

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HIMAC - 8141, August 1994

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html version of synopsis by Nick Cook