One disadvantage of automated material handling systems is their relative Inflexibility: once racks are installed and conveyors are laid, making even mi-nor changes to a system can be cumbersome and expensive. However, recent progress in the capabilities and cost of basic system components, such as controllers, drives, and sensors, has made possible a new class of material handling systems having a much higher degree of flexibility. We propose underlying de- sign principles for such systems and describe several prototype plug-and-work" systems, which feature decentralized control and ease of reconfiguration.
Proceedings of the International Material Handling Research Colloquium
Furmans, Kai; Schonung, Frank; and Gue, Kevin R., "Plug-and-Work Material Handling Systems" (2010). 11th IMHRC Proceedings (Milwaukee, Wisconsin. USA – 2010). 1.