In order to increase manufacturing throughput and efficency as well as to ease product customization (for example in the manufacturing of cars) Flexible Manufacturing Systems and Cells have become popular within the last decades. Although these systems provide increased efficiency and flexibility, we think there is still room for improvement in many production processes by making entities more autonomous.
In this showcase we have developed a tabletop-setup of a flexible manufacturing system composed of fully autonomous entities and demonstrate a change in the processing-process away from a centralized initiated handling of goods. Instead, raw materials or semi-finished products steer their processing and flow through the manufacturing-hall and process themselves by distributed interaction with other entities.

Flexible Manufacturing Systems entities and their showcase representations

Based on Peer-its, the manufacturing-hall entities i) processing machines ("processing-peers") ii) transport vehicles ("transport-peers") and iii) raw material/products ("product peers") as well as iv) maintenance personal are interacting autonomously in a shared nothing peer-to-peer coordination architecture in order to produce goods. Raw material or semi-finished goods as well as all other entities are equipped with Peer-it smartness, communication and self-description capabilities. Products are aware of the production steps they require and include the required processing-machines programs in their self-description. Upon entering the manufacturing-process, a product-peer searches for free processing-machines capable of processing the next required step, book their processing and call transport-peers in order to be transported to these machines. Upon been transported to a processing-machine, the product programs and parameterizes the machine according to its needs at runtime which leads to a high degree of flexibility regarding individualized products as well as efficiency regarding the utilization of processing-machines.