An Approach to Automatically Distribute and Access Knowledge within Networked Embedded Systems in Factory Automation

Francesc de Borja Ramis Ferrer

    Research output: Book/ReportDoctoral thesisCollection of Articles

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    This thesis presents a novel approach for automatically distribute and access knowledge within factory automation systems built by networked embedded systems. Developments on information, communication and computational technologies are making possible the distribution of tasks within different control resources, resources which are networked and working towards a common objective optimizing desired parameters. A fundamental task for introducing autonomy to these systems, is the option for represent knowledge, distributed within the automation network and to ensure its access by providing access mechanisms. This research work focuses on the processes for automatically distribute and access the knowledge.

    Recently, the industrial world has embraced service-oriented as architectural (SOA) patterns for relaxing the software integration costs of factory automation systems. This pattern defines a services provider offering a particular functionality, and service requesters which are entities looking for getting their needs satisfied. Currently, there are a few technologies allowing to implement a SOA solution, among those, Web Technologies are gaining special attention for their solid presence in other application fields. Providers and services using Web technologies for expressing their needs and skills are called Web Services. One of the main advantage of services is the no need for the service requester to know how the service provider is accomplishing the functionality or where the execution of the service is taking place. This benefit is recently stressed by the irruption of Cloud Computing, allowing the execution of certain process by the cloud resources.

    The caption of human knowledge and the representation of that knowledge in a machine interpretable manner has been an interesting research topic for the last decades. A well stablished mechanism for the representation of knowledge is the utilization of Ontologies. This mechanism allows machines to access that knowledge and use reasoning engines in order to create reasoning machines. The presence of a knowledge base allows as clearly the better identification of the web services, which is achievable by adding semantic notations to the service descriptors. The resulting services are called semantic web services.

    With the latest advances on computational resources, system can be built by a large number of constrained devices, yet easily connected, building a network of computational nodes, nodes that will be dedicated to execute control and communication tasks for the systems. These tasks are commanded by high level commanding systems, such as Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) modules. The aforementioned technologies allow a vertical approach for communicating commanding options from MES and ERP directly to the control nodes. This scenario allows to break down monolithic MES systems into small distributed functionalities, if these functionalities use Web standards for interacting and a knowledge base as main input for information, then we are arriving to the concept of Open KnowledgeDriven MES Systems (OKD-MES).

    The automatic distribution of the knowledge base in an OKD-MES mechanism and the accomplishment of the reasoning process in a distributed manner are the main objectives for this research. Thus, this research work describes the decentralization and management of knowledge descriptions which are currently handled by the Representation Layer (RPL) of the OKD-MES framework. This is achieved within the encapsulation of ontology modules which may be integrated by a distributed reasoning process on incoming requests. Furthermore, this dissertation presents the concept, principles and architecture for implementing Private Local Automation Clouds (PLACs), built by CPS.

    The thesis is an article thesis and is composed by 9 original and referred articles and supported by 7 other articles presented by the author.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherTampere University of Technology
    Number of pages73
    ISBN (Electronic)978-952-15-4090-5
    ISBN (Print)978-952-15-4083-7
    Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2018
    Publication typeG5 Doctoral dissertation (article)

    Publication series

    NameTampere University of Technology. Publication
    ISSN (Print)1459-2045


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