After successfully developing a model-based online planner for the multi-engine modular printer prototype at PARC, we have been investigating other applications with similar characteristics. One such application is an automated packaging line for food and consumer packaged goods, specifically the infeed system, where products arrive continuously from the end of the production line and need to be arranged into a specific configuration for downstream primary and secondary packaging machines. In collaboration with a domain expert from the packaging industry, we developed an innovative design for a reconfigurable parallel infeed system using a matrix of interchangeable smart belts. We also adapted our online model-based Plantrol planner to this domain. Our planner can control various configurations of the new infeed system through simulation in both nominal planning and when runtime failures occur. We are also building a physical prototype to validate the new design and our software framework.
Do, M. B.; Lee, L.; Zhou, R.; Crawford, L. S. Online planning to control a packaging infeed system. 21st International Conference on Automated Planning and Scheduling (ICAPS); 2011 August 7-11; San Francisco, CA.