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Cyber Physical Systems, intended as networked systems, establishes a large amount of contacts inside and outside the company of different nature. Therefore, the main feature regard the fact that they are cognitively systems based on the studying and learning of surrounded environment. In addition, in order to reply to urgencies, these systems present different rate of autonomy in taking decisions, in terms of boundaries and architectural limits. In the next paragraph, we will see that Cyber Physical Systems present different rate of autonomy and consequently different rate of openness and possible communications with functions and parties inside and outside the company. Thus, studying their control strategies and path we are able to see systems based on the creation of networks that analyze real-time data in a decentralized manner, in order to take decision in autonomy.
Thus, taking in consideration the control path described above, we can go more in deep in order to analyze the differences between classical monitoring cycle and Self-reconfiguration cycle. The first one is based on upside control, store information, take a decision and finally reprogramming the system. While, the second one is based on a diffused circulation of information, find the best possible solution, adaptation to the new situation, and finally learn from past situations and improve its condition. In conclusion, as we have announced before CPPS is a no-linear system that presents different level of autonomy in programming its goals and way of working. Therefore, processes established at the beginning can change due by its characteristic of self-adaptation.
During the exploration of this technology we are going to focus on what is known as the second and the third generation of CPSs. The second generation is probably one of the most known and utilized for its capacity of understanding the surrounded environment and self-adaptation to changes and disturbances at operation level. Today, scholars are arrived to talk about of the 4 generation of Cyber Physical System in production, but it is considered too early to adopt in term of surrounded knowledge, tailored capacity, and supporting technologies. Therefore, result of primary importance give a look to the third generation in terms of features, capabilities and difficulties in the adoption, because it will be in the next future and even now a reality in manufacturing processes. Thus, the aim of this paragraph is to describe and compare the four levels of CPSs in production in terms of flexibility, self-adaptation, computational power and all related features and capabilities. Through this description, we want to give an overall picture of the status of the art and possible scenarios in the future for plan and adopt modular systems.
Starting from the less advanced system, we can see that the architectural structure, procedures, processes, and way of working are programmed at the beginning of its introduction in a firm. In the plan process, are established rigid boundaries and limits in which the system can be regulated, in addition result necessary for the adaptation of the system the help of people. For instance, taking in consideration the case of a CNC equipment. CPS is able to store and analyze in real time machine productivity and efficiency, taking in consideration information acquired with the help of humans capabilities is possible to improve process variables, changing work parameters. The advanced level of CPS is called second generation and it is based on limited and predefined possible way of working. Thus, in this case CPS has a limited number possible way of monitoring the manufacturing process and given the real condition it has to choose. In the database the system has a selected number of manufacturing processes, exploitation of equipment, and monitoring path, all established in the planning processes, and it has to choose on of this, without going out of planned and possible tracks. For instance, take in consideration an airplane and its monitoring and control system. In the database is present a set of possible regulations in base of the corresponding circumstance. In fact the system select the best possible solution given the situation in which it is working. Think about the situation in which there is a fault in engine and the emergency procedure taken by the system alone, in order to make possible the landing.
Now, we are going to discuss the most important and applied level of CPS. This is considered the third generation, it consists to plan an integral architecture, which poses the basis and limits for self-adaptation. In fact, limits are imposed for limited capacity of the plant or for safety reasons. Therefore, inside those boundaries the system can act as it best believes given the surrounded environment in which it acts. Think about to new robots with embedded computational power and sensors, in order to have a clear perception of the environment in which it works. During the scheduling time, some specific features are imposed such as the power and the velocity of movements, which kind of motion is permitted, and spatial limitations. The machine respecting those barriers can choose its way of working in totally autonomy. Giving, the best possible response to current environment conditions. The last level of modular system is considered, not yet available and tailored for business and practical application. But, it is a fascinating concept and deserves to be mentioned. This is based on an open architecture without severe boundaries or limits, in fact it has great margin of freedom. During the planning phase self-adaptation algorithms are posed, but it will be unpredictable how the system will react to the environment and which is the solution that it will find and will consider the best. Taking into account the example before of a CNC equipment, through this technology is possible to reach higher level of efficiency and productivity. The most important things are data and information that will be transformed in knowledge, into specific efficiency and final quality of products realized by the cutting methods. Through, this new knowledge, result possible to find weaknesses and poverty of the process, in order to improve the cutting processes and machines capabilities.
During the speech above we have found four types of Cyber Physical Systems in production. Therefore, the first one and in some part the second one work as the planning part has forecasted. Thus, result easy to see that those system self-adapt them to new surrounded environments as the planning has forecasted, without any kind of self-evolving scheme. Giving continuity to what we have said above, only Cyber Physical Systems above the first one can be considered true flexible systems, with capabilities of self-organization, self-adaptation and self-optimization. In fact, those systems are able to change during their existence their working ways and processes in order to rise the level of productivity and efficiency alone. All this is possible through an higher and established control path, that is excluded only for the last type that at the beginning of the planning phase is unknown the direction of its future operations. During the studies of this thesis, I am going to address concepts and examples that are related to 1 and 2 level of modular system only. Because those two are mostly utilized in Smart Factories. Dividing Cyber Physical Systems in different levels, this gives us an important lesson that we have to understand related to the rate of autonomy of systems. Greater is the level of autonomy in operating of the system, higher result the importance of a self-regulation starting point at planning phase, in order to not leave the system adrift.
Finally, we can say that a self-evolve system require the ability to self-determine itself, able to understand what surround it, and finally the ability to recognize which are its limit and operation boundaries.
During this paragraph, we are going to focus on which are the capabilities of Cyber Physical Systems and their related problems that emerging from the planning phase for a future and imminent adoption of the technology. Inside each scholar and academic treatment, result clearly the capability of self-adaptation during the entire life-cycle of the system, in order to realize this feature, system has to be able to understand the surrounded environment and monitor it and its behaviors. From the system described above, it is possible to realize benefits in terms of optimized production processes, better management of raw materials and energy, consequently reduction of processes costs, and last but not least improved reliability of the entire value chain reducing faults and rising the product quality. Given the benefits, that we will expect. Result possible to explore future characteristics of manufacturing processes based on modules with computing power in order to take autonomously decisions, and self-organize them self, in addition decisions are taken from real data storage and analysis, the result is a Smart Factory. We can see from the following table the current status of open issues and the target state.
.We are going to face modular systems, which realize production processes without the monitoring of the human hand. Therefore, Cyber physical systems have to be based on specific features never seen before, such as the capability to be aware of the context in which the system is going to operate. Than it has to have computational capabilities in terms of analysis and response to the surrounded environment, finally self-adapt second the plan developed through monitoring, analysis, and execution developed before. The capabilities announced above, are related to the realization of a Smart Factory. Viewing those systems from a planning and design engineering point of view, can be considered as totally new and put new challenges on the construction of a Cyber Physical System in production. As we have seen modular systems are based on infinite module interface, in addition the application of sensors, computational power and service platforms rise the possibility to have problems and faults inside the production processes, due for the huge complexity in manage them. Thus, result of primary importance to realize a modular system responsive to these problems in order to fix them. In conclusion, with the following table is possible to analyze in deep the features and principles that have to be followed for a safety and successful design phase.
In the table above we have observed methods and instruction useful and used during the planning phase of Cyber Physical System. Therefore, instructions used for the second generation of the system can be applied for the construction of higher level of complexity systems such as the third. During time even the second generation are facing incredible levels of complexity, and difficulties in the application of computational systems based on data analysis and elaboration of practical response to environmental stimulus. In order to develop systems able to realize self- organization, self-elaboration, and self-adaptation. Given these important features is easy to imagine the application of design principles of second generation to the third. The instructions mentioned above can be used by software developers and scholars, in order to identify the best possible architecture for a system that has to present as main feature reactivity to external stimulus in run-time. However, result impossible forecast and program every single possible development in production process, for this reason those systems need analytical algorithms, which permit run-time adaptation.
Through the structural architecture mentioned above, we are going to describe the main characteristics of a flexible and responsive Cyber Physical System. First of all, those systems require a flexible structural architecture, second systems are composed of modules and parties with sensors and computational power, which permit them to be a clear vision of the surrounded environment. In addition, the most important thing is in case of difficulties or faults CPS is able to fix the situation and find the best possible way of working in complex situations. This is possible, because the system moves inside specific boundaries realized by a self-regulation architecture.
So, we can conclude that the design phase results of critical importance in order to develop a successful Cyber Physical System in production. Self-reconfiguration means that systems during their run-time will changes their operational processes and procedures, given the new threats and opportunities that they will face. In order to do it result of primary importance gives to those systems the capabilities to supply, in every moment the right resources that they need for a fast and conscious adaptation to new circumstances never faced before. Thus, we are going to develop systems that need the monitor and control of workers, but it is not predictable the future way of working of those systems.
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