Site Visit Executive must continually assess approaches to systems training/engineering, including use of agent models, simulation results, artificial intelligence techniques, and tools supporting training process so it is possible to stay ahead of demands for new and upgraded weapons systems.
Using agent models is not a new concept; however, digital engineering will address long-standing challenges associated with complexity, uncertainty, and rapid change in deploying defense systems. By providing for more agile and responsive development, digital training/engineering supports engineering excellence and provides a foundation for mission success in the future.
Realising end-to-end digital enterprises, automating tasks and processes, and making smarter, faster decisions all require next frontier of technologies to transform the way agents and machines interact. Advances in artificial intelligence have given rise to behavioural technologies capable of performing tasks that traditionally required intelligence of commanders in the field.
Covering all requirements of modern military logistics enterprise simulations is not easy problem. We propose two agent-based technologies for logistics support on two different levels: intra-enterprise and extra-enterprise level-- can be used simultaneously or together.
The standard configuration consists of several independent systems linked to the virtual organisation by agent-based decision support technology in various fields of logistics – maintenance planning, supply chain decision-making models, simulation, extra-enterprise access, etc.
Although established architectures have many good points, all these architectures can be improved, since they have not completely generated the necessary digital modeling techniques and adequate execution tools for the different kinds of enterprise architectures and specialised tools focus on necessities of every type of enterprise activity.
Integration of the Simulation exercise that we have carried out at in different logistics scenarios validated that the agent-based technology is viable in situations where the maintenance planning problem is constantly changing e.g. project driven production, and requires frequent and continuous re-planning.
In these Readiness Simulations the collective aspects of the agent technology have been exploited. At the same time we have identified a great potential of the technology in situations where the planning problem is characterised by complex processes but it features some of the internal logistics.
Integration of virtual enterprises must be developed and their use must be populated through examples and application experiences. The objective is to develop and validate a step forward in the state of the art of Digital Architectures for Enterprise Integration.
Objective consists of architecture section selection to describe and present all the necessary activities to establish, carry out and complete an enterprise integration programme for any kind of enterprise.
Requirements and components are put together by digital standards teams. Any kind of proposal for an enterprise integration reference architecture can be evaluated under certification criteria.
In the case of the high volume production/maintenance availabilities, where not only collective aspects of agent simulation technology have been used but also the integrative capabilities of agents have been exploited e.g. integration of the linear programming heavy-duty solver.
In simulations where the planning metrics are widely distributed and not fully available the agent technologies provide an robust integrative and distributed planning framework for supply chain administration and virtual production/maintenance organisations formation.
Strong reliance on standards will contribute to facilitate the interfacing of existing applications with the virtual infrastructure, but unfortunately not all classes of information that need to be exchanged among virtual agents are covered by existing standards.
Initiatives of application agent groups contribute to facilitate this process. In general, it is necessary to develop some interface/mapping layer, at each enterprise, to adequately have this enterprise interacting with virtual infrastructure.
In the case that an enterprise fails to perform its duties, the Virtual Enterprise must be reconfigured to replace the failing enterprise with another one. To support this functionality it is nice to have a distributed digital process plan/model tool to allow for re-planning and re-scheduling of logistics processes.
To support function of Virtual Enterprise-- independent of Virtual Enterprise size there is a need for a Virtual Enterprise coordinator. to monitor distributed logistics process Job Status and comparing it to Virtual Enterprise plans as described in the contracts.
Application vendors are faced with a challenge when trying to provide Digital Twin performance measurement functionality within their products. Users often wish to include metrics relating to information not residing within the vendor’s application database. This is especially the case when measuring the performance of cross-functional and inter-enterprise processes, which involve drawing information about any functional department within a company, or about customer/supplier activities.
We offer platforms to help logistics units join on-demand prototype networks and access to suppliers. Our application solution allows print/repair shops to join an on-demand prototype network, adding their capacities to it and enabling them to selling those capacities via their own networked shop..
It is increasingly common for the manufacturer of a complex product to purchase much of the content in the product from other companies. For example, an automotive manufacturer might buy seats from one company, brake systems from another, air conditioning from a third, and electrical systems from a fourth, and manufacture only the chassis, body, and powertrain in its own facilities.
“We basically connect the different network shops in the background to establish the networks. Our Enterprise solution gives users access to the on-demand prototype suppliers— as well as the ability to compare their internal capacities with those of the companies on the network.
While these are recommended supply chain measures, it is rare for one organisation to control its whole supply chain performance. Supply chains are typically comprised of many value-adding trading partners controlling the portions they interact in . While this might be the case, supply chain tactics principles dictate that significant benefits can accrue when integrated inter-enterprise processes are in place, to link and optimise the supply chain.
Here we describe single Phases of cooperation life-cycle on Enterprise-to-Enterprise level searching of the possible product support collaborators. First, agents have to contact possible partners. There is wide field for future research in the domain of automatic search cooperation and contacting possible partners.
This Blockchain approach ensures the trustworthiness of the partners transferred from real-life to the agents cooperation. Each agent is equipped by the addresses and the security certificates and every partner can be authenticated using standard key methods. Every agent can be connected to many partner agents according to defined internal cooperation rules.
Once the agents are connected together, each agent provides the list of available product support capabilities to partners. It is possible to propose different capabilities to different partners. During this phase agents form basic cooperation network, receiving information suitable for effective collaboration in the next phases. During the life-cycle of the cooperation, agents subscribe information of the changes on product support resources on already established platforms.
Once you have your network in place, you‘re ready to consider our challenge in depth. The transition from producing many parts from a few orders to producing a few parts from many orders isn’t easy, especially when it comes to quoting.
“It’s definitely one of the biggest roadblocks right now. “Even if you’re fast, it usually takes significant block of time to prepare a quotation for an order. There’s also a lot of ‘communication “ping-pong” at the beginning: someone sends a request, you check if the part is printable, it’s not, so you request changes back and forth, and it just goes on like that.”
Fortunately, you can avoid all that communication “ping-pong” by automating your quotations and printability checks. Our Enterprise Platform is designed to do just that. In addition to giving you direct access to our network of print parts suppliers, the platform can also evaluate models for pricing and printability, include side-by-side comparisons of internal 3D printers with those in your on-demand prototypes network
These tools give us complete visibility on manufacturing and service operations, a capability we now have for the first time. These applications also help us improve the accuracy of our work orders; engage in more efficient production scheduling; enable interaction with our diverse vendor supply chain and reduce logistics delays for parts.
We have also noticed most legacy applications were designed for a enterprise-centered local operation and to be operated by agents. In order to have these applications supplying information to or consuming information from the virtual network, it is clearly necessary to extend their functionality.
Interoperability among enterprise applications represents a major challenge for supporting the rapid formation of virtual scenarios, in response to new operational opportunities. On the other hand it is important to have in mind that each enterprise has its own way of doing business.
Furthermore the level of information sharing among virtual agents is likely to either change of the trust level among partners or with adjustments to configuration in time. Therefore, flexible virtual coordination and information visibility rights definition mechanisms are required to support both the autonomy and change order properties in behaviour of virtual agents.
Multi-agent solutions exist for low-level scheduling or control systems as well as product-configuration and quote phases to be used for short- and long-term production planning and supply chain administration.
Multi-agent systems on intra-enterprise level and extra-enterprise level are independent in the digital population point of view. Agents used on intra-enterprise level are operating inside an enterprise represents many units or processes in the unit. On extra-enterprise level, whole unit is represented by a single agent, providing all abilities and services, available in the company.
If agents on both levels are used, a special Digital Twin agent can exists that bind both levels together. For digital application purposes, both levels can be modeled together as a Digital Twin to study and improve their abilities.
Multi agent systems can be used also for a digital simulation and modeling of the production process or the supply chain, where they easily simulate an independence of involved parts. These tools can help to answer non-trivial tasks – how changes in single component will affect the production process or supply chain as a whole.
Must focus on optimising maintenance workload tracking across the enterprise and at Sustainment Centre level across all complexes by serving as a single entry point to outside customers with capability to identify workload capabilities and shortfalls across the enterprise and use this information to pursue new/repatriated workload.
Logistics Complexes operate with some different business processes creating conditions where complex cannot provide standardised guidance. Does not have optimum visibility of capability, capacity, or cost across enterprise.
An improved, single-interface solution will serve to share backshop and local manufacturing workload solutions among the complexes, reduce costs, accelerate feedback loops, and develop greater local manufacturing agility.
Must have a robust and agile single-interface solution that provides optimum visibility and improvement opportunities for the Maintenance Repair/Overhaul enterprise based on capabilities and capacities utilising the guidance reflected in the Technology Repair Centre construct.
There are many programmes, processes and offices working multiple issues related to capacity, manpower workload and so on, but no aggregated metrics to allow assessments at the complex level. Assessments are performed in a variety of efforts throughout the enterprise but they do not use the same methodology.
Even if complex had good metrics on capability and capacity, the lack of common equipment and tools makes temporary shifts to balance back shop and local manufacturing workload very difficult.
Well-designed enterprise-level Strategic Sustainment Frameworks are required to provide an overall site picture of current and future workload in areas such as backlog of workloads, surplus capacity, manpower requirements by skills, facilities capabilities, machine capabilities and space requirements.
Complex is at risk of discarding essential equipment and skill sets without Strategic Sustainment Teams in place to review in-house repair shop capabilities and verify interdependent capabilities are retained before restructures or consolidations. There is no enterprise level strategy in place to review any potential short or long-term workload reassignments. Repatriation efforts are not prioritised based on enterprise wide needs.
Must leverage collaborative innovation of numerous participants across multi-agent enterprise, permitting shared risk, maximised reuse of assets and reduced total ownership costs.
Combination of open systems architecture and an open multi-agent model permits acquisition of modular and interoperable system, allowing for system elements to be added/modified and replaced over duration of mobile exercises.
Modular open architecture includes updating key interfaces within the system and relevant design disclosure. Key enabler is adoption of an open multi-agent model requires doing mission status updates in a transparent way.
Smart to allow for system elements removal and/or support by different groups throughout the duration of exercise so afford opportunities for enhanced competition and innovation.
Agents communicate digitally, and currently use point addressing. Messages do not persist outside of agents, and agents do not move over the network. Fixed market protocol is used but also provides for field unit operators behind component agents to communicate directly with one another using Standard work orders.
The initial configuration of component agents and characteristic agents is defined when the system is initialised, but component agents can engage in markets for other characteristics as the system runs.
The fundamental challenge in applying agents to both planning and control is satisfying a global criterion on the basis of parallel local decisions. In spite of the natural benefit that centralisation has in dealing with control criteria, case studies show that many users have found agents an even better approach.
Operational systems must be maintained, and it is much easier to maintain a set of well-bounded modules than to make changes to a large programme. The move toward supply chains means that the manufacturing system is geographically distributed, and agent decentralisation reduces communication bottlenecks and permits local parts of the enterprise to continue operation during temporary lapses in connectivity.
Competitiveness increasingly depends on adjusting system operations frequently to track customer requirements, benefiting from how agent systems can be changed. The ability of agents to deal with poorly structured systems is less important in the operation of an engineered system than in its design.
Accounting for executing the modeled behavior of agents and mission space is dependent on the classification of the agent-based system and support for collaborative model development and model repositories. Collaborative modeling enables dispersed modelers to develop modular model levels both coupled and uncoupled.
In such application based cooperative working scene, model repositories are essential to support efficient and systematic model reuse and integration. Such repositories offer many benefits for maintaining and using models. Repositories can be built from widely employed relational systems to be scaleable and provide standard queries for access to and from model content.
But many challenges remain to support collaborative development of levels based modular models and components within distributed and networked mission space. For example, a lot of work is required to develop workable schemes to assign ownership rights of enterprises and within enterprises and functional teams. participating in a model development effort.
1. Typical virtual enterprise to include large scale engineering systems involved in system build-- emphasis is put on operation of virtual enterprise and on the support for business process definition and supervision.
2. Network topology situations show variable characteristics some enterprises can join or leave the alliance according to the phases of the business process or other market factors.
3. Duration of some alliances of virtual enterprises established towards a single business opportunity, and are dissolved at the end of such process
4. Many sectors have established supply chains with an almost fixed structure-- little variation in terms of suppliers or clients during the virtual enterprise life cycle consider temporary interaction with non-member enterprises such as occasional suppliers
5. Supporting infrastructure must handle many virtual enterprise participation spaces and cope with strict cooperation and information visibility rules, to preserve the requirements of every individual enterprise
6. Dominant company defines "the rules of the game" and imposes its own standards on others in terms of business process models, information exchange mechanisms and access rights
7. Different organisation can be found in some supply chains, without a dominant company so nodes cooperate on an equal basis, preserving their autonomy, but joining their core competencies.
8. Once successful alliance is formed, companies may realise the mutual benefits of joint control of resources and skills tends to create joint coordination structure
9. Visibility scope related to the topology and coordination i.e., how far, along the network can one node see the virtual enterprise configuration like direct neighbors ie, suppliers, clients
10. Monitoring of order fulfillment, planning, scheduling, workload distribution are examples of advanced task supervision and virtual enterprise coordination to include extensive visibility scope agreed in enforced contracts among all members