The ARUM project aims to improve planning and control systems for complex, small-lot products manufacturing, such as aircraft, aircraft interiors, and ships.
Producing aircraft is incomparable to producing large-quantity products such as cars or computers. A car manufacturer makes a relatively small investment in design and production ramp-up (the phase between designing a prototype and smooth production of the final product line), compared to the number of cars that are eventually sold. A company like Airbus faces a similar investment, even though it will only sell a small number of aircraft of the same design. Ships and aircraft are often produced in batches as small as 3 to 5, or are even completely customized.
Thus, small-lot manufacturers need ICT solutions and tools to speed up their learning curve, allowing a smoother transit from design to production. They simply cannot learn from mistakes at the beginning of a series, but must get it right on the very first model.
Some of the issues that these tools need to deal with include:
- last-minute engineering changes
- new or changing requests by customers
- delayed delivery of parts
- little control over pre-assembly by partners
ARUM proposes to develop an intelligent Enterprise Service-Based platform (i-ESB). The platform will integrate a service-based architecture with a knowledge-based Multi-Agent System.
The i-ESB platform will gather information from sources such as sensors and resource management systems, giving decision makers and planners better insight into and control over the design-to-production process. Also, time-, cost- and risk-analysis will take place within the platform.
The project has a double approach, making use of both prediction (in the pre-planning phase) and real-time control (in the production phase).