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An energy efficiency focused semantic information model for manufactured assemblies

Borsato, Milton
Journal of cleaner production 2017 v.140 pp. 1626-1643
business enterprises, computer software, energy accounting, energy efficiency, geometry, information systems, manufacturing, models, supply chain
Environmental Sustainability is one of the ‘Grand Challenges’ for manufacturing success in the 21st century. The present article mainly focuses on energy use during the manufacturing steps used for assembling products. In particular, industry still needs systematic and reliable ways to capture information for ultimately accounting for energy efficiency in manufacturing processes. For that purpose, an information model in the form of a formal ontology was created using information elements as building blocks, which emerge from manufacturing process models, supply chain operations, manufacturing process parameters, 3D form features and exergy-based thermodynamic analysis. These information elements were integrated by means of semantic relationships in an ontology. Once this information model was constructed, an application example of a welded hull panel assembly was used for verification of the model's representativeness and completeness. Results show that it is feasible to correlate all required data by means of semantic relationships for estimating energy efficiency indicators prior to physical prototyping, or ultimately comparing different alternatives for manufacturing processes regarding energy efficiency. However, manufacturing processes must be described in detail in order to allow energy efficiency analyses. In addition, geometric models need to be able to represent form features that can best relate to specific manufacturing process parameters. And finally, energy efficiency indicators, such as the degree-of-perfection can be derived from a comprehensive thermodynamic analysis, to be performed in each individual process step. Results indicate it is possible to provide an information structure for the calculation of the degree-of- perfection associated with an exergy-based thermodynamic analysis in assembly processes. Therefore, it has the potential to serve as a basis for a unifying framework for developing software applications that could allow the calculation of the degree of perfection in manufacturing operations. In addition, the resulting information model may facilitate data integration in the extended enterprise environment as well as the development of standards that can lead to seamless interoperability of manufacturing information systems. This paper presents the means by which energy efficiency can be accessed directly from an integrated semantic model, and opens the possibility to be extended for many different sorts of manufacturing processes.