A multi-agent system to construct production orders by employing an expert system and a neural network
The authors describe the implementation of a multi-agent system, whose goal is to enhance production planning i.e. to improve the construction of production orders. This task has been carried out traditionally by the module known as production activity control (PAC). However, classic PAC systems lack adaptive techniques and intelligent behaviour. As a result they are mostly unfit to handle the NP Hard combinatorial problem underlying the construction of right production orders. To overcome this situation, we illustrate how an intelligent and collaborative multi-agent system (MAS) obtains a correct production order by coordinating two different techniques to emulate intelligence. One technique is performed by a feed-forward neural network (FANN), which is embedded in a machine agent, the objective being to determine the appropriate machine in order to fulfil clients requirements. Also, an expert system is provided to a tool agent, which in turn is in charge of inferring the right tooling. The entire MAS consists of a coordinator, a spy, and a scheduler. The coordinator agent has the responsibility to control the flow of messages among the agents, whereas the spy agent is constantly reading the Enterprise Information System. The scheduler agent programs the production orders. We achieve a realistic MAS that fully automates the construction and dispatch of valid production orders in a factory dedicated to produce labels.