Design of FMS by Using Virtual Models and Internet (Grant No. 00-2)


By taking insight in procedures for FMS design and analysis that are currently in use by industry and academic community, one can notice a lack of tools which enable simple and fast system configuration and investigation of influence of various dispatching policies on a system behavior. Today’s tools require long and complex procedure of system description and parameters determination. Furthermore, they do not support 3D graphical interpretation of results. The evolution of Internet and development of virtual reality technologies have set conditions for new approach to design and analysis of industrial processes. The aim of the proposed project is to implement this new approach to the field of FMS control. By using software tools developed within the project a user would be able to choose 3D objects -parts of FMS and position them on a shop floor. In that way user can build a virtual model of a desired flexible manufacturing system. Once having a virtual model the user will determine parameters related to every object placed on the shop floor and by choosing appropriate dispatching logic an investigation of a system behavior in a real-time by watching events in a 3D virtual world will be possible. The software tool will give the user an opportunity to change parameters and/or positions of the objects in a simple way, thus providing immediate insight into the system functioning under various manufacturing conditions.


Ministry of Science and Technology, Republic of Croatia



Principal investigator

Zdenko Kovacic

Project results:

  • Library of virtual models created in VRML (standard robot configurations, conveyors, tables, palettes, security fences etc.)
  • User-friendly software for reconfigurable FMS description and parameterization (Java applet connected with the VRML viewer)
  • A software tool implemented for conversion of data describing the FMS structure into a matrix form for MATLAB™ application
  • Dynamic simulation of the FMS as a discrete event system under matrix model-based FMS control strategies
  • Powerful 3-D graphics and animation features
  • Interaction among all software modules providing vertical and horizontal flexibility
  • Usage of XML for textual FMS description
  • Open to different applications
  • Appropriate for hybrid systems

Project references:

Solic-Rocak N., Bogdan S., Petrinec K., Kovacic Z., “Object-oriented programming approach to dynamic simulation of flexible manufacturing systems”, CD-ROM Proceedings of the 9th Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation Control, Dubrovnik, 2001.
Bogdan S., Smolic-Rocak N., Kovacic Z., “Dynamic Simulation of Flexible Manufacturing Systems by Using SIMULINK™”, The 3rd World Manufacturing Congress WMC 2002, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, 2002.
Kovacic Z., Bogdan S., Reichenbach T., Smolic-Rocak N., Birgmajer B., “FlexMan – A Computer-integrated Tool for Design and Simulation of Flexible Manufacturing Systems”, CD-ROM Proceedings of the 9th Mediterranean Conference on Control and Automation Control, Dubrovnik, 2001.
Kovacic Z., Bogdan S., Smolic-Rocak N., Reichenbach T., Birgmajer B., “Virtual Reality Modeling of Flexible Manufacturing Systems”, 6th International Conference on Telecommunications ConTEL 2001, pp. 255-260, Zagreb, 2001.