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Method for Dynamically generating Assembly instructions Based on Component Availability

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000127248D
Original Publication Date: 2005-Aug-18
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Aug-18
Document File: 2 page(s) / 24K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Abstract

This article describes a method the automated production of assembly instructions and Bill of Materials (BOM) based on component availability. The method described consists of a system comprised of an expert system, Natural Language generation software, an inventory database, and a control process, The inventory database maintains the list of ingredients which are in stock. The expert system is responsible for determining appropriate substitutions for missing ingredients and producing the updated assembly instructions. The natural language software package is responsible for "smoothing" the steps within the assembly instructions. The control process manages the recipe generation process from the input of a base recipe, through the evaluation and substitution process, and the final presentation to the consumer. Further, this method allows the substitution selection to be weighted based on various control variables such as: · price of ingredient/part · complexity of resultant assembly instructions- including time and additional resources required · trueness to the base recipe · resultant cost of the final product including ingredients, labor, and resources

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Method for Dynamically generating Assembly instructions Based on Component Availability

   The assembly process for a component is analogous to following a recipe in food preparation. In either case, a recipe contains a list of ingredients and steps to be taken to prepare the ingredients to produce the desired product.. Individual ingredients have a measurement associated with them indicating the amount of the ingredient required for the recipe. Frequently, due to supply issues it is possible that a desired ingredient is unavailable. However, an alternate (or combination of alternate) ingredient(s), may be available. Usage of these substitute ingredients forces changes not only in the ingredient list, but also in the set of instructions for combining the ingredients. This change in the instruction set may be a trivial substitution (replacing one ingredient name with another) or it may be substantial (adding or removing several steps). Given a base recipe, it is theoretically conceivable to manually construct a static list of every possible combination of alternate recipes based on valid substitutions for each ingredient. Then, assuming the consumer of the recipe knew the parts available, they could search through this static list looking for the one which matched the ingredients on hand. The prevalent solution is that the consumer of the recipe compares the ingredients to inventory and when an ingredient is missing, looks up the viable alternatives, then constructs and alternative recipe based on the alternatives.

   An embodiment of the method described is for a traditional manufacturing line. It is comprised of the following components:

1) An inventory management system
2) An order entry/tracking system
3) An expert system. This system is responsible for evaluating a recipe to determine legal ingredient substitutions. For each ingredient, it maintains the related assembly steps. While not exhaustive, the following are some of the rules which may be applied to determine whether a substitution exists:

Are substitutions allowed for this order? is the part a straight replacement: i.e., identical FRU numbers but different part numbers
Is the part an...