Robust Supervisory Control for Production Systems with Multiple Resource Failures Academic Article uri icon


  • Supervisory control for deadlock-free resource allocation has been an active area of manufacturing systems research. To date, most work assumes that allocated resources do not fail. Little research has addressed allocating resources that may fail. In our previous work, we assumed a single unreliable resource and developed supervisory controllers to ensure robust deadlock-free operation in the event of resource failure. In this paper, we assume that several unreliable resources may fail simultaneously. In this case, a controller must guarantee that a set of resource failures does not propagate through blocking to stall other portions of the system. That is, the controller must ensure that every part type not requiring any of the failed resources should continue to produce smoothly without disruption. To do this, the controller must constrain the system to states that serve as feasible initial states for: 1) a reduced system when resource failures occur and 2) an upgraded system when failed resources are repaired. We develop the properties that such a controller must possess and then develop supervisory controllers that satisfy these properties. Note to Practitioners-For the past decade or so, researchers have begun to actively address the issue of ensuring smooth and continuous operation for flexibly automated manufacturing systems. This research effort has been motivated by the many failed attempts to implement flexible automation throughout the 1980s. During this time, much has been learned about modeling the control functions of a flexible, automated system. In fact, ladder logic control code can now be generated automatically from mathematical models, such as Petri nets, which compactly capture the required operating system logic. Because the code is based on a formal model with well-established properties, it is guaranteed to ensure proper operation without significant startup troubleshooting. One area that has not been investigated is controlling these systems when machines or tools "fail." The question is not how to fix what has failed, but rather how to control the system so that if something does fail, the system can continue producing items that do not require the failed elements. This is essential work since automated manufacturing systems consist of thousands of components, any of which are subject to failure. If failures in the system are not handled gracefully, it becomes difficult to keep the automated system running, in which case, system production does not meet expectations. In our previous work, we investigated ensuring smooth operation for systems with a single unreliable resource. We developed supervisory controllers to guarantee this requirement for these systems. In this paper, we extend the previous results to a more general class of systems where there are multiple unreliable resources. We establish a set of desired properties that the supervisory controller must possess in order to guarantee robust operation for these systems, and then develop a number of controllers that satisfy these properties. © 2006 IEEE.

author list (cited authors)

  • Chew, S. F., & Lawley, M. A.

citation count

  • 46

publication date

  • July 2006