Executive Summary

This report is based on the results of a two-year feasibility study and outlines an international Intelligent Manufacturing Systems (IMS) program, an exciting opportunity for international cooperation in advanced manufacturing. IMS can provide a vision and structure for world- wide sharing of manufacturing technology development including costs, risks, and benefits in a balanced and equitable manner.

This report covers the background and objectives of the program, summarizes the results achieved during the IMS Feasibility Study, and makes recommendations for a full- scale, 10- year IMS program with the possibility of extending the life of the program after appropriate review.

The IMS program is in response to common problems in the manufacturing sector of industrialized nations. It addresses such challenges as: greater sophistication in manufacturing operations; improved global environment; enhancement of the discipline of manufacturing; and provision of an opportunity for organisations of all sizes to respond to the globalisation of manufacturing, facilitating the process of standardisation.

1 Background

The IMS program was proposed by Japan in 1989 and, after many discussions amongst high-level officials, industry, and academia representatives, an international Secretariat group met in late 1991 to finalise guidelines for a two- year Feasibility Study with six Participants - Australia, Canada, the European Community (EC), five European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries, Japan, and the United States. An International Steering Committee, an International Technical Committee, and an International Intellectual Property Rights Committee were appointed.

The Feasibility Study began in 1992. It operated under Terms of Reference which emphasised that all contributions to, and benefits from, cooperation would be equitable and balanced. The study consisted of two distinct parts, first the development and evaluation of a framework and modalities for international cooperation, and second the execution of five test case projects and one study project aimed at gaining practical experience of collaboration. All projects which served as test cases had at least three Participant regions represented, and all projects were industry- led with guidelines for proper intellectual property rights protection.

2 Feasibility study

Five test case projects and one study project operated during the Feasibility Study. Technical topics included enterprise integration and global manufacturing, systemisation of manufacturing knowledge, the control of distributed intelligent systems, techniques for rapid product distributed intelligent systems, and "clean" manufacturing in the process industries.

The test cases were industrially relevant and attracted world- class companies, small and medium sized enterprises, laboratories, and universities. The IMS Feasibility Study was a catalyst to the forming of effective business- university networks.

3 Results

The Feasibility Study clearly demonstrated that guiding principles embodied in the Terms of Reference were workable and necessary, and that the IMS framework enhanced global manufacturing cooperation. It facilitated the establishment of relationships amongst large companies, small companies, academic and research institutions, and public authorities on a world- wide scale. It provided a structure for sharing of intellectual property in international consortia, and allowed this structure to be thoroughly tested. In addition, it facilitated international discussions and assessment of what should be the priorities for global cooperation in advanced manufacturing. Several symposia reported the results.

The experience gained by the 140 partners involve din the test case projects was invaluable. Cultural, language and technical barriers were rapidly overcome. International collaboration provided added value which outweighed additional overheads incurred through collaboration on this scale. The high overheads should be seen in the context of a start-up exercise and could be reduced in a steady-state, particularly through the use of electronic communications.

Important products of the feasibility study were sound recommendations for the subsequent full- scale IMS program, particularly recommendations for Terms of Reference for a full-scale program and landmark intellectual property rights provisions.

4 Recommendations

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gaines@cpsc.ucalgary.ca 28-Aug-94