IEEE RAS Distinguished Lecturer, Spyros Reveliotis at the International Congress on Industrial Engineering organized by the Technological University of Panama and supported by the UTP Student Branch of IEEE
The Quest for Flexible Automation: Current Achievements and Further Needs
Spyros Reveliotis, School of Industrial & Systems Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology
The effective deployment of flexible automation in the workflows that are employed by modern industrial processes has been a “vision” of the corresponding engineering communities for a long time. But while flexible automation is currently supported in many industries at the “machine / equipment” level, we still lack the capability to support this concept at the “system integration” level, in a robust and responsive manner. In particular, past efforts to support flexible automation at that level through ad hoc / “common sense” approaches have proven incapable to represent effectively the complexity of the generated behaviors and to master the corresponding dynamics. As a result, the automation that is currently deployed at the “system integration” level is of a rather rigid nature, sacrificing flexibility for operational simplicity and tractability.
The considered talk will overview a research program that has evolved in the context of the automation and controls systems communities in an effort to develop a rigorous theoretical framework for the deployment and support of flexible automation in various industrial settings. This framework enables a formal characterization of the involved behaviors and dynamics, a succinct statement of the corresponding control problems, and the development of rigorous methodology able to synthesize solutions for these problems while managing the existing trade-?off between the operational efficiency of these solutions and their computational tractability. The last part of the talk will also outline some open issues that need to be addressed for the further completion and strengthening of the existing results, and the migration of these results to industrial practice.