Heterarchical control of highly distributed manufacturing systems

N. A. Duffie, V. V. Prabhu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


The use of heterarchical architectures to control manufacturing systems is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative to conventional hierarchical architectures as the density and level of distribution of computing resources in manufacturing systems grows. In this paper, design principles for heterarchical systems are reviewed that have evolved to promote reduced complexity, increased extensibility, selfconfigurability, and adaptation in real time. Challenges that arise in adhering to these principles such as cooperation between autonomous entities and potential for chaotic behaviour are discussed. Finally, heterarchical control is described for arrival time of parts at a machine where using local feedback control, system stability and convergence to meritorious states can be guaranteed, leading to confidence in system performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-281
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications


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