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Using The Internet To Leverage Undergraduate Cim Laboratory Resources

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.517.1 - 1.517.6

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Joseph A. Heim

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1620

Using The Internet to Leverage Undergraduate CIM Laboratory Resources

William Davis and Joseph Heim, Industrial Engineering, University of Washington

Introduction Computer Integrated Manufacturing Systems (CIMS) combine complex automated production control operations with human supervision and direction. Operators and managers of complex systems can use tools that enable them to recognize trends in operational characteristics of manufacturing systems for which they are responsible1. Developing these tools requires system engineers that are knowledgeable about manufacturing processes and also able to cope with the computer technology required to develop efficient interfaces to these systems4. Programmable Logic Controller (PLC) equipment manufacturers have recognized the market for software interfaces that allow operators to monitor and in some cases control operations from an operator interface4. These commercial packages consist of various development environments, communications drivers, and display interfaces7. Because these products are intended to provide a comprehensive, packaged solution, interprocess linkages are embedded in the package. From an educational point of view, revealing the processes that drive the display and how they access information is important for students trying to gain an understanding of the internal operation of the systems. Commercial software packages hide these basic processes from developers so they can focus their efforts on creating the interface in the design and development environment.

In this paper, we introduce a methodology for developing comprehensive interfaces to link operators and manufacturing systems. The approach is motivated by the need to expand the accessibility of undergraduate CIM engineering laboratory resources and still provide adequate opportunity to appreciate the complexity involved in integrating humans and advanced manufacturing systems. This paper introduces a new approach to developing manufacturing system interfaces; furthermore, this approach requires the student to develop the system iteratively by assembling appropriate processes to accomplish the desired tasks. The architecture consists of a group of processes that work together to acquire data, format it, and finally display it in a useful way to the end user. In this case an internet navigator is used as a standard interface. This approach provides an opportunity for the student to work with new and emerging internet technologies while learning how to develop interactive system interfaces.

We present the basics of developing manufacturing system interfaces and establish a framework for creating laboratory-based curriculum using HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and Common Gateway Interface (CGI) applications. This paper is organized in the following manner. An example of an industry standard system interface is explained, followed by an example of how the same interface can be developed using a web-based

1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings

Davis, W., & Heim, J. A. (1996, June), Using The Internet To Leverage Undergraduate Cim Laboratory Resources Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia.

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