The Ford Motor Company Direct Labor Management System

John O'Brien, Henry Brice, Schott Hatfield, Wayne P. Johnson, and Richard Woodhead

The Ford Motor Company Direct Labor Management System (DLMS) is one major subsystem in a multiphase Manufacturing Process Planning System (MPPS) intended to assist in all aspects of the manufacturing planning process. DLMS plays a central role by automatically generating detailed plant-floor assembly instructions from high level structured English descriptions and by providing consistent and accurate estimates of the associated labor times. Much of DLMS design was inspired by CONSUL [Mark 81], a system which uses classification- based reasoning in the process of interpreting natural language requests for interactive computing services. The kernel of the DLMS system is a large knowledge base of automotive assembly expertise constructed and maintained by the end-user engineering community. The central Knowledge Base Management System (KBMS) is a classification- based terminological reasoning system implemented on the NIKL model. The KBMS is tightly coupled with a natural language component which interprets the surface language process description and maps it into a set of standard atomic assembly instructions within the knowledge base. The resulting instruction set forms the basis of a knowledge based simulation which generates any auxiliary work elements necessitated by this process script.

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