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Constraint-Oriented Cooperative Scheduling for Aircraft Manufacturing
January-February 1997 (vol. 12 no. 1)
pp. 32-39

For solving scheduling problems in an aircraft manufacturing workshop, these authors propose a human-machine cooperative framework where computers check the consistency of thousands of constraints and humans select relevant choices

The flanged-element manufacturing workshop at Dassault Aviation's plant in Argenteuil, France, uses a number of short-run manufacturing cycles to produce small quantities of numerous aircraft structural parts. The many manual finishing operations, components, and manufacturing processes involved place a premium on management flexibility and quick reactions for meeting ever-changing production demands. Human operators, therefore, must assume a pivotal role in the workshop's decision-making processes.

This case study reports on our efforts to converge a top-down approach to functional design and a bottom-up approach to cognitive design of human-computer interactions to increase efficiency at the workshop. The functional design effort relies on a constraint-reasoning process to provide a set of decision-making solutions, while the cognitive design effort comprises a knowledge-acquisition phase. We combined these concepts to produce a highly interactive mock-up system, programmed with a constraint logic programming language, that lets users easily modify previous choices.

The final system this article describes is still under specification, as part of the ongoing reorganization of the shop. The mock-up design, supported by the French Ministry of Research, has been developed to investigate new technological possibilities in the domain of cooperative human-machine scheduling, but not to be integrated in a Dassault industrial site. If integrated, this mock-up would enable operators to react immediately to perturbations. This work could also migrate to other manufacturing operations, such as cutting operations in the clothing industry, which present similar constraints.

Citation:
Patrick Esquirol, Pierre Lopez, Luc Haudot, Marc Sicard, "Constraint-Oriented Cooperative Scheduling for Aircraft Manufacturing," IEEE Intelligent Systems, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 32-39, Jan.-Feb. 1997, doi:10.1109/64.577411
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