Towards engineering manufacturing systems for mass personalisation: a stigmergic approach

Rotimi Ogunsakin, Cesar Marin Pitalua, Nikolay Mehandjiev

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Mass personalisation is characterised by unpredicted changes in product design and manufacturing processes, as a result of customers’ ability to co-create and co-design products based on personal preferences. Previous approaches that address such unpredicted changes rely on heterarchical control structures and require changes in manufacturing systems’ layout. However, in mass personalisation context, the notion of planning before production is redundant, hence requirement for layout reconfiguration is frequent and at such short intervals that present systems are unsuitable. This paper seeks to deliver distinct production mechanisms which react to the frequent requirement for layout changes, inspired by naturally occurring self-organising systems with stigmergic self-organising mechanisms. These systems lack initial structural organisation, and structure only emerges through reinforcement of local interactions with the environment without the need for planning, centralised control, direct communication and simultaneous presence. Therefore, a manufacturing system for mass personalisation with mobile production resources, heterarchical control architecture, and a stigmergic control mechanism is proposed. Simulation is developed using realistic shoe personalisation scenario, which demonstrates the system’s capability to produce personalised shoes and automatically reconfigure the layout of its production resources.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2021


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