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The Metadatabase Approach To Integrating And Managing Manufacturing Information Systems


Integration has become a self-evident goal in today's manufacturing enterprises. Since the late 1970's, numerous major efforts have been launched worldwide to develop, employ, and deploy information technology for integration as a strategic weapon to compete in the global marketplace. Important results have been obtained, including Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM), and Concurrent Engineering/Re-engineering. The field is poised to tackle some fundamental barriers of integration and thereby effect a new quantum jump in overall productivity, where information will become a fourth basic factor of production along with land, labor, and capital. Among the barriers are major gaps in information technology regarding multiple systems operating concurrently over different geographical regions. This paper discusses a unique approach to the integration problem regarding information resources management, global query and concurrent systems administration. This approach is based on the metadatabase model which incorporates both data and knowledge in order to accomplish information integration across manufacturing functions. Basic concepts, methods, and techniques have been developed for the approach and verified via a prototype metadatabase system. The systemÕs primary components and major functionalities are discussed and illustrated in detail through the use of an extended example of a pilot manufacturing system comprising order processing, process design, and shop floor control. It will also provide the reader with a simulated system demonstration. Keywords: Systems Integration, Manufacturing Information Management, Multiple Data and Knowledge Systems. Click here to download Macintosh MS Word Format file.


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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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