GIBSS: a framework for the multi-level simulation of manufacturing systems

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


A systems approach for manufacturing system design calls for the division of a system design into sub-designs, and their specification over multiple levels of detail. Through an iterative design and evaluation process, a system design progresses from an abstraction to an implemental specification. To facilitate the evaluation process, models of sub-designs must be applicable to modular assembly, even if the sub-designs are heterogeneously specified.

Computer simulation modeling is currently the most flexible method of manufacturing system analysis. When used in the multi-level design process, two forms of simulation models are encountered, uni-level and multi-level. A simulation model of a manufacturing system is considered uni-level if objects of equivalent type within the system are modeled at the same level of detail. On the other hand, a model is considered multi-level if objects of equivalent type are not modeled at the same level of detail. Unfortunately, current simulation frameworks do not integrate modular construction with the various discrete event and continuous simulation techniques needed to support multi-level modeling.

This dissertation describes GIBSS (Generalized Interaction Based Simulation Specification), a simulation framework which supports the modular construction of uni-level and multi-level simulation models. Under GIBSS, the mechanisms and attributes of a manufacturing system simulation are distributed among various classes of independent sub-models. These classes are passive, internal interaction, external interaction, and master simulation. GIBSS describes the mechanics of each of these classes, as well as their method of synchronization. Using GIBSS, sub-models are created, executed, and validated independently, and then brought together to execute in parallel or near parallel fashion. As a result, uni-level and multi-level system simulation models are assembled from multiple sub-models.

GIBSS eliminates a barrier to the rapid evaluation of manufacturing system designs. It facilitates the multi-level design process, and is the basis of a research effort, dedicated to the development of a new generation of computer-aided manufacturing system design environments.