Communication Concept of DeConSim: A Decentralized Control Simulator for Production Systems
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In recent years, the price pressure and demand for personalised products in manufacturing increased continuously. As a reaction, technologies from the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector are applied by the industry, this trend is also known as digitalisation or Industry 4.0. Digitalisation might be effectively supported by simulation of production lines and will become crucial for manufacturing companies who want to benefit from the advances in ICT technologies, thus improving efficiency and competitiveness. Many agent-based simulators exist, nevertheless, most of them were developed for biological and social sciences whose use and specifications differ significantly from industrial applications. The commercial ones are expensive in terms of licensing, support and require specific training. We propose a communication concept for the simulator that we are developing called DeConSim, which aims at decentralized systems and is composed of several modules (representing resources, each with its own task and intelligence) and a core. DeConSim is capable of operating in two different modes: simulation mode and realtime mode. The former is used to achieve pure simulation results as fast as possible. The latter operates in real-time enabling DeConSim, in contrast to other existing simulators, to become the operational core of the control communication infrastructure of a real production line.