April 16, 2021 – 1:00 pm, Plenary talk 3 for DCL Student Symposium 2021

Bluejeans link: https://primetime.bluejeans.com/a2m/live-event/hehxxuty

Dawn M. Tilbury

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


Many manufacturing systems today have been optimized for mass production, making the same products over and over again with high quality and low cost. There is an increased demand for customized or even personalized production, which can be possible while utilizing many of the same machines currently existing on plant floors. However, the control systems must be completely redefined. The Internet of Things and networked control systems are key enabling technologies to realize this vision.

Decentralized control strategies, specifically agent-based control, can be used to enable customized and personalized production, while improving the flexibility and responsiveness of manufacturing systems. A manufacturing plant floor has both resource agents, representing the processing and material handling resources available, as well as product agents, representing the parts that traverse through the factory, being transformed from raw materials to finished products. Agents each have their own goals, and make decisions based on these goals, their communications with each other, and information available from the physical system. This presentation will cover our recent work on product agents, and discuss how this decentralized approach can lead to improved productivity. Implementation on a small-scale automated testbed will be presented.


Dr. Dawn M. Tilbury received the B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering, summa cum laude, from the University of Minnesota in 1989, and the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1992 and 1994, respectively. In 1995, she joined the faculty of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she is currently Professor of Mechanical Engineering with a joint appointment in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Her research interests lie broadly in the area of control systems, including applications to robotics and manufacturing systems. She has published more than 150 articles in refereed journals and conference proceedings. She was elected Fellow of the IEEE in 2008 and Fellow of the ASME in 2012, and is a Life Member of SWE. Since June of 2017, she has been the Assistant Director for Engineering at the National Science Foundation.