About this book
xiv box for Balanced Automation, research in this area is still young and emerging. In our opinion, the development of hybrid balanced solutions to cope with a variety of automation levels and manual approaches, is a much more challenging research problem than the search for a purely automatic solution. Various research activities described in this book illustrate some of these challenges through the development proposals, assisting tools, and initial results. In certain chapters however, the balancing aspects are not yet achieved in the research area, but their inclusion in this book is intended to give a broader and more comprehensive perspective of the multiple areas involved. One important aspect to be noticed is the extension and application of the concept of balanced automation to all areas of the manufacturing enterprise. Clearly, the need for a "balanced" approach is not restricted to the shop floor components, rather it applies to all other areas, as illustrated by the wide spectrum of research contributions found in this book. For instance, the need for an appropriate integration of multiple systems and their perspectives is particularly important for the implantation of virtual enterprises. Although both the BASYS'95 and the BASYS'96 conferences have provided important contributions, approaches, and tools for the implantation of balanced automation systems, there are a number of areas that require further research: .
architecture automation design design methods programming