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Online task distribution simulation in smart factories

Resource management and allocation is an important issue for industries that want to manage their time correctly and allocate their resources effectively and efficiently, without lowering productivity. This paper presents a Task Distribution Engine (TDE) aiming to automate and optimize the task scheduling and resource assignment procedure in industrial environments. The presented engine supports both real-time and simulation modes, though this work focuses mainly on the simulation mode. Simulation mode provides efficiency, training familiarization, evaluation of the workload and the schedule of each shift and has the advantage of simulating events occurring on the shop floor. A constrained optimization method, which employs hard and soft constraints of various criteria, is applied, in order to evaluate different solutions and select the one with the maximum score. Case study results demonstrate that the simulation functionality of the task distribution engine is useful for determining the importance of parameters considered when assigning tasks.