Application of HTML/VRML to Manufacturing Systems Engineering

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Virginia Tech

Manufacturing systems are complex entities comprised of people, processes, products, information systems and data, material processing, handling, and storage systems. Because of this complexity, systems must be modeled using a variety of views and modeling formalisms. In order to design and analyze manufacturing systems, the multiple views and models often need to be considered simultaneously. However, no single tool or computing environment currently exists that allows this to be done in an efficient and intelligible manner. New tools such as HTML and VRML present a promising approach for tackling these problems. They make possible environments where the different models can coexist and where mapping/linking between the models can be achieved. This research is concerned with developing a hybrid HTML/VRML environment for manufacturing systems modeling and analysis. Experiment was performed to compare this hybrid-modeling HTML/VRML environment to the traditional database environment in order to answer typical design/analysis questions associated with manufacturing systems, and to establish the potential advantages of this approach. Analyzing results obtained from the experiment indicated that the HTML/VRML approach might result in better understanding of a manufacturing system than the traditional database approach.

Modeling views, Microsoft Access, Design of Experiments, Hypothesis Testing, Active Server Pages (ASP)