Open-Architecture Information Integration throughout Organizations
Harry H. Cheng
Integration Engineering Laboratory
Department of Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering
University of California
Davis, CA 95616
An Integration Engineering Laboratory has been developed
to study the synergy of open-architecture system
integration for agile manufacturing.
The URL address on the World Wide Web for the lab is
new integration environment
for both operation of agile manufacturing systems and integration
of downstream factory-floor manufacturing systems and
upstream front-office information systems.
Difficult information integration throughout organizations is one of major barriers to become more agile manufacturers
for many industries.
The timely flow of information
including real-time manufacturing data within and between enterprises
is critical to agile manufacturing business.
Currently, the costly customized effort is required
to implement and integrate information systems that share
real-time manufacturing data throughout organizations.
highly automated plants and factories
struggle to overcome difficulties in
adapting or reconfiguring production operations
to become agile producers.
CH Integration Environment
We have developed a
new integration environment called CH
for information integration at
the enterprise level.
CH is not only used
for real-time factory-floor
operation of equipment and control of
processes, but also for non-real-time
across heterogeneous platforms.
Our new integration environment
CH can be used for information integration
across vendor's product lines.
Our new integration environment is computer-platform-independent.
CH is a superset of C
and implemented as shell of various different
A large collection of existing C code and
utilities can be reused under this new integration
System integration in CH is accomplished not by writing
large programs starting from scratch. Instead,
they are combined by relatively small components.
These small components concentrate on
simple tasks so that they are easy to build,
understand, describe, and maintain.
Our new integration environment is mechatronic-device-independent.
stepper motors, DC and AC motors,
laser and vision sensors, force and torque sensors,
tactile sensors, and pneumatic grippers
are essential components of
many manufacturing systems.
The difference of mechatronic components
from different vendors
is hidden by a
set of low-level mechatronic
Manufacturing systems under
the CH integration environment is configurable.
For different manufacturing systems,
only device drivers, header files, and system-dependent modules
need to be modified, but task-level functions
and programs remain the same.
CH functions and programs are interpretive and
modular. They are
written in plain text. They can be changed and
modified on-line in response to the external
sensory information. CH programs
can even written in one machine and loaded to other
machine for execution remotely through a network.
Commonly used sensory data are handled
in both low-level and
very high-level in CH.
Manufacturing systems under the
CH integration environment is, therefore, also adaptive.
It can automatically adjust to changing
conditions and reconfigure themselves.
Manufacturing systems operated in
CH under real-time operating systems
are open. The real-time data in these
manufacturing systems can be accessed
from different front-office computers
such as workstations,
X-terminals, and PCs coordinated by CH shell under different operating
systems as shown in
This work was supported in part by
National Science Foundation
as a Research Initiation Award
under Grant DMII-9309207,
University of California, Davis
through faculty research grant program
and by donations
Delta Tau Data Systems,
Lynx Real-Time Systems,
Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems,
and Unmanned Solutions.
Integration Engineering Laboratory
Created by Harry H. Cheng, 9/15/1995