The GNOSIS project has been concerned with learning both from the experience of
the operation of the technical work packages and from individual partner
experience in GNOSIS. Each work package developed a brief list of its research
highlights and industrial benefits, and these are reported below. The full
reports on the work package have been published separately as listed in Section
Fuji-Xerox produced a classification of the knowledge they need to systematize
as part of their goal of zero-fault design and manufacture. This is feeding
back into the design process. It illustrates work undertaken in the work
package as part of a `technology map' concerned with the identification of the
industrial requirements for the systematization of knowledge.
A number of interesting results also arose from the literature survey. For
example, information and knowledge standards were identified that partners
could employ, and which could act as guide in knowledge systematization. Also,
from a variety of projects a common architecture was developed consisting of a
set of independent `knowledge agents' communicating through a `mediator'. This
architecture offers a framework for long-term GNOSIS research on knowledge
The main joint demonstration created a context that fused different stages and
approaches to product modeling and manufacturing preparation. The
implementation of each element, and their integration, required that each
partner understand the principles underlying each approach. The use of more
conventional object-oriented approaches also pointed to the potential for
integration of the work with existing management information systems.
As part of the main joint demonstration, use of the SYSFUND and MCOES tools,
integrated from two different partners, has created a working prototype of how
one could integrate conceptual design and part family description. More
broadly, the demonstration of the information flow from part design to
manufacturing preparation generated important information about the knowledge
required, and its organization, as it passes from design to manufacturing.
The industrial partners experienced a number of benefits. Examples are:
Specific needs were matched with identifiable seed technologies, and
the risk associated with the deployment of these new technologies was able to
be spread across partners.
The work in configuration management systems (CMS) has shown good collaboration
with both industrial and research partners contributing ideas and validating
concepts. It started with analysis of the requirements for systems
incorporating concepts of design for manufacture and concurrent engineering. A
framework for the analysis of such systems was developed which can be used for
elicitation of manufacturing knowledge. The framework was validated by five
industrial partners. A function based product model was developed from the
framework incorporating constraint satisfaction techniques. Existing approaches
were considered but found unsuitable for the whole range of configuration
tasks. The model was validated and improved to meet the needs of all partners.
- Fuji-Xerox and Nissan had opportunities to exchange design cultures.
- Shimizu gained access to the best practices of other industry types.
- IBM France benchmarked its own practices against those of other industries.
- ITMI and Kajima gained early access to new technologies, and also had
opportunities to influence their further development.
- The German participants analyzed the medium-term cost/benefit relationship
of using knowledge-based technology in their potential application
In addition to the product life cycle, the products' continuous improvement has
been taken into account. A dynamic CMS has been proposed which is based on
constraints for product specification as well as functional and structural
product description, and also on modeling the organization including the
objectives of the enterprise.
Significant industrial benefits have already been achieved:
CMS requires the creation of a database of the resources and the collection of
configuration knowledge. This leads to consistent and easily accessible data
and documented knowledge.
The following research highlights were accomplished:
- The concepts of product modeling based on functions have been used in a
product design system and contributed to goals such as optimized design,
shorter design time, etc. (BICC, MELCO, Télémécanique).
- Limitations of the current methods have been identified (Kajima, BICC,
- Knowledge systematization was confirmed to be the key to implementation of
new CMS in the area of software design (Kajima).
- Concepts and techniques related to knowledge systematization for software
and hardware design and management have been developed (IBM).
Significant industrial benefits have been achieved.
- Use of product and process model definitions in STEP format.
- Development of a knowledge-based spreadsheet for design optimization.
- Development of a tool for generation and configuration of non-linear
- Evaluation of various production system configurations.
- Development of schedule optimization system.
- Development of an interactive, graphical simulation-based monitoring and
Among the techniques for realizing soft products are modularity and functional
redundancy, through which a soft machine can continue operation in spite of
faults or unexpected conditions. The SYSFUND tool of University of Tokyo
facilitates knowledge-intensive design of functionally redundant artifacts. The
system was distributed to several partners, who used or evaluated it in their
own domains. Some highlights of this work include:
- ABB enhanced its production capabilities by the integration of functions
according to GNOSIS concepts.
- ARC performed technology transfer to ECL Canada in the area of simulation
and plant reconfiguration.
- Links were established among industrial partners inside and outside the
- Shimizu is utilizing tools provided by GNOSIS partners to improve its
- The scheduler and production control system developed by VTT were
integrated with simulator tools and tested together with Deneb Robotics,
Shimizu Corporation, Tehdasmallit and ABB in the industrial environment.
- Tehdasmallit had access to industrial data to improve its tools, and the
tools were themselves validated by industrial partners.
- Tehdasmallit developed marketable tools to be used for industrial
- Deneb Robotics improved and adapted its software product according to
requirement specifications derived from collaboration with other partners.
- IPA performed transfer of technology and know-how to different industrial
partners, in particular MAN-Roland and Brose.
- GNOSIS partners transferred concepts and ideas developed during the
project to companies outside the consortium.
benefits of the work are still in the future. The main benefit for industrial
companies has been new viewpoints to industrial problems using soft machinery
concepts and the exchange of ideas across diverse domains. In particular, the
soft machinery concepts provide a link between the future post mass production
paradigm and real design and production problems by focusing on specific
attributes of future products such as self-maintainability, fault tolerance,
Research into the post mass production paradigm was carried out by developing a
research framework in which the partners contributed their experiences and
perspectives. This framework was iteratively expanded and developed in order to
clarify and focus the objectives. The probable course of future paradigm
developments were studied.
- Using an industrial example of magnetic contactor design provided by
Télémécanique and MELCO, the University of Tokyo carried
out a demonstration of soft machinery design concepts. A functional
representation of the contactor was built using the SYSFUND tool and a
functionally redundant contactor was designed.
- Shimizu investigated environment-conscious construction and evolutionary
buildings, using SYSFUND for characterizing the dependencies between building
functions and structures and DSP for knowledge representation for optimized
structural foundation design.
- Nissan worked on modularized automobile design to allow partial
replacement of modules to facilitate repair and recycling. They also evaluated
SYSFUND and DSP, and outlined future requirements for such tools.
- Fuji Xerox utilized the concepts of soft machinery for the design of a
next-generation "soft copier" featuring multiple functions and autonomous
- IBM applied dynamic simulation to study and define self-organization and
adaptability of both computer hardware and software.
A global perspective on the post mass production paradigm was developed by
identifying and analyzing the significant parameters of the paradigm, such as
critical drivers, obstacles, and so on. It shows that knowledge-intensive
simultaneous growth of products, production systems, and organizations will
provide a basis for tackling the problems encountered in achieving a new
paradigm, relating to various aspects of human society, including the
The research carried out so far has included the following research highlights:
Directly related to the items mentioned above,
various benefits for companies within the consortium and, in the future, for
those outside the consortium, have been identified:
- The basic problems of mass production and mass consumption have been
outlined, particularly in regard to resource scarcity and environmental
- Paradigm changes have been reviewed from a historical perspective.
- Changes in society that call for adjustments in management systems have
- Defects and endemic problems in company management have been studied.
- The dynamic nature of markets that trigger radical changes in industry
have been characterized.
- A scheme for the systematization of all these aspects has been developed.
- A methodology for describing future paradigm scenarios has been set out
and utilized, covering boundary conditions, initial conditions, critical
drivers, implementation, expected results, and obstacles.
- Areas of potential future growth which combine knowledge technology and
economic principles have been studied.
- The evolution of production methodology has been set out.
- Different views on the research by the various partners have been gathered
- A linkage of the overall view to specific objectives in future GNOSIS
research has been established.
- The changes that have been observed and can be expected have been related
to scientific theory.
- The basic nature of industrial evolution has been set out.
- A scenario and strategies for long term industrial policy have been
- Each company has been able to compare its own situation with the problems
and options of other companies in different industrial sectors and in other