Decentralized Multi-Agent Production Control through Economic Model Bidding for Matrix Production Systems
Due to increasing demand for unique products, large variety in product portfolios and the associated rise in individualization, the efficient use of resources in traditional line production dwindles. One answer to these new challenges is the application of matrix-shaped layouts with multiple production cells, called Matrix Production Systems. The cycle time independence and redundancy of production cell capabilities within a Matrix Production System enable individual production paths per job
... on paths per job for Flexible Mass Customisation. However, the increased degrees of freedom strengthen the need for reliable production control systems compared to traditional production systems such as line production. Beyond reliability a need for intelligent production within a smart factory in order to ensure goal-oriented production control under ever-changing manufacturing conditions can be ascertained. Learning-based methods can leverage condition-based reactions for goal-oriented production control. While centralized control performs well in single-objective situations, it is hard to achieve contradictory targets for individual products or resources. Hence, in order to master these challenges, a production control concept based on a decentralized multi-agent bidding system is presented. In this price-based model, individual production agents - jobs, production cells and transport system - interact based on an economic model and attempt to maximize monetary revenues. Evaluating the application of learning and priority-based control policies shows that decentralized multi-agent production control can outperform traditional approaches for certain control objectives. The introduction of decentralized multi-agent reinforcement learning systems is a starting point for further research in this area of intelligent production control within smart manufacturing.