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Suleyman Tufekci

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Emulated Flexible Manufacturing Facility Software

Would it not be nice if you could build a working manufacturing system in minutes instead of hours?

Would it not be nice if you could alter that system and study it again?

What if building a complex manufacturing system was as easy as building a simple one?

The Emulated Flexible Manufacturing Facility, EFMF is a powerful new technology that allows users to model complex manufacturing systems in Windows 95, 98 or NT environments. The emulation software EFMF is designed and developed with partial support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Southeastern University and College Coalition for Engineering Education (SUCCEED) since 1992.

The EFMF brings all essential aspects of a manufacturing facility without the prohibitive cost of real facilities. The main purpose of the virtual factory emulator is to provide an interactive decision support system for managing the manufacturing process from ordering of raw materials to shipment of goods to customers. Interactively, the user can test many operational (scheduling, batching, dispatching, etc.), tactical (design changes in products, processes and facilities) and strategic (adding new products, processes, phasing out products, testing new facility layout, testing new material handling systems, etc.) decisions with ease.

The interactive characteristics of EFMF allows the user to monitor and change the system parameters during an emulation session. Added video display of the system elements with stereo sound provides the perception in the sense of virtual reality.

The Emulated Flexible Manufacturing Laboratory at the University of Florida is composed of a network of 20 200-MHz Intel Pentium personal computers under Windows NT environment networked through TCP/IP network communication protocol. Borland Resource workshop and Borland Delphi 4 are used in developing the EFMF objects. The EFMF is an object-oriented software. Each object, which emulates an actual object normally found in a manufacturing facility, is represented by an object window. The EFMF software operates on a message passing protocol. Each object receives messages through the network and sends messages into the network. With this capability, many virtual factories can be connected through the Internet for modeling supply chains and value chains.

For further information on EFMF and site licensing EFMF for educational and corporate use please contact Dr. Tufekci.

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