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Adaptive Production Management

The production and ramp-up of complex and highly customized products are exceptionally challenging for planning and control, especially in small lot sizes. Risks pose a greater threat in large series production, such as the automotive industry. New ICT-based approaches aim to develop strategies to respond faster in order to mitigate unexpected events. Therefore the knowledge base must be enriched for real-time decision support, to detect early warning signs and to accelerate learning.

The ARUM project aims to improve planning and control systems for complex, small-lot products manufacturing, such as aircraft, aircraft interiors, and ships in order to overcome the following challenges:

  • Increasing risks from product immaturity and production disruptions due to market pressure
  • Complex and highly customized products for small production series
  • Planning and control of automation and ICT controlled manufacturing systems
  • Weak integration of engineering to production (horizontal) and enterprise ICT to shop floor automation (vertical).

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.

Arum’s approach is based on a new generation of service orientated enterprise information platforms. A holonic multi-agent system combined with a service architecture will improve performance and scalability beyond the current state of the art. The solution integrates multiple layers of sensors, legacy systems and agent-based tools for beneficial services like learning, quality, risk and cost management. Additionally, the ecological footprints will be reduced.

The ARUM solution will run in two modes: predictive and real-time simulation. The predictive mode supports the planning phase, whereas the real-time operations mode supports dynamic, time-, cost- and risk-oriented re-planning of operations. In case of immaturity or late requests for changes, alterations of engineering information provided are supported equally. ARUM is strongly end-user driven and the results will be tested on three industrial use cases with focus on aircraft, aircraft interiors and ship manufacturing. The solution will be validated in a real industrial environment by industrial partners and benchmarked against today’s ICT solutions. In collaboration with universities, a test-bed will be established for ARUM systems and tools designing and testing and will be open for dissemination and demonstration.

For additional information about ARUM, please visit