Automatically Generating Plans for Manufacturing


Billy Harris and Diane J. Cook


Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX  76019, U.S.A.


Frank Lewis


Automation & Robotics Research Institute, 7300 Jack Newell Blvd. South, Fort Worth, TX 76118, U.S.A.




Although machine planning has attracted great interest among researchers, it has seldom been used outside research labs. One impediment to widespread use is that existing planners are often difficult to integrate with other parts of a manufacturing system. We address this problem by showing how assembly trees (constructs often used by factories identifying how to construct an object) can easily be converted into HTN operators for our machine planner. We also demonstrate that our plans can be easily converted to a Petri-Net or matrix representation that ordinary discrete-event controllers can manipulate. We view our planner as one portion of a complete control system. We also demonstrate how our system can combine multiple alternatives into a single representation. Finally, we show that the combined representation can be converted back into a more conventional plan representation, allowing machine planners to compactly reason about alternate courses of action.




Machine planning, HTN planning, intelligent control, discrete-event control