SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1985

Standardization Suggested by the Automated Manufacturing Research Facility (AMRF)—A Research Testbed for the Factory of the Future


A research effort has been initiated at the National Bureau of Standards to develop a small batch manufacturing system to support study and experimentation in automated metrology and interface standards for the computer-integrated factory of the future. When completed, the resulting testbed system will be made available for fundamental studies in manufacturing technology by scientists and engineers from government, industry, and universities. This paper will report on the progress of major software and hardware subprojects that are being carried out in support of the construction of the automated manufacturing research facility (AMRF).

The basic approach to the research effort is to take the structure of an automated manufacturing facility and decompose the functional elements in a top-down fashion until the elements are no longer divisible. At this level, systems are defined for robots, machine tools, carts, conveyors, and other similar type units. The project will define the processes that occur at each level, how they can be measured using sensors with software support, and the interface specifications between modules.

Projects will address the applications of (1) hierarchical control techniques to implement the factory-command structure, (2) artificial intelligence/expert systems and decision support systems for work on distributed process planning and scheduling functions, (3) distributed data management systems to handle the problem of a wide spectrum of data requirements, and (4) network communications techniques to manage the various data flow requirements through all levels of the factory system.

Other projects will address the issue of software support systems for an automated system. Graphics interfaces for a manufacturing environment will be developed based on human engineering considerations. Simulation and emulation systems are and will continue to be used for the design and testing of automated systems.

Some projects will address the problem of making the elementary unit, such as robots, more capable of responding to a changing environment. These projects include adding many types of sensors (vision, tactile, force, proximity, etc.) to the robot system to allow for a more sensory interactive real-time control system. A continuing project utilizing sensors on machine tools has demonstrated the ability to improve a machine tool's accuracy. These projects will lead to adaptive control being performed at the equipment level.

Author Information

Bloom, HM
National Bureau of Standards, Washington, DC
McLean, CR
National Bureau of Standards, Washington, DC
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Developed by Committee: E31
Pages: 38–60
DOI: 10.1520/STP34223S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-4927-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-0422-8