In this paper we describe a hybrid architecture that integrates artificial neural networks and knowledge-based expert systems to generate solutions for the real time scheduling of flexible manufacturing systems. The artificial neural networks perform pattern recognition and, due to their inherent characteristics, support the implementation of automated knowledge acquisition and refinement schemes through a feedback mechanism. The artificial neural network structures enable the system to recognize patterns in the tasks to be solved in order to select the best scheduling rule according to different demands. The knowledge-based expert systems are the higher order elements which drive the inference strategy and interpret the constraints and restrictions imposed by the upper levels of the flexible manufacturing system control hierarchy. The level of self-organization achieved provides a system with a higher probability of success than traditional approaches.


Industrial Engineering | Manufacturing

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