Holonic Manufacturing Systems
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In 1967, the Hungarian author and philosopher Arthur Koestler proposed the word holon to describe a basic unit of organisation in biological and social systems (Koestler, 1967). Holon is a combination of the Greek word holos, meaning whole, and the suffix on, meaning particle or part. Koestler observed that in living organisms and in social organisations, entirely self-supporting non-interacting entities did not exist. Every identifiable unit of organisation, such as a single cell in an animal or a family unit in a society, consists of more basic units (cytoplasm and nucleus, parents and siblings) while at the same time forming a part of a larger unit of organisation (a muscle tissue or community). A holon, as Koestler devised the term, is an identifiable part of a system that has a unique identity yet is made up of subordinate parts and in turn is part of a larger whole. The strength of holonic organisation, or holarchy, is that it enables the construction of very complex systems that are nonetheless efficient in the use of resources, highly resilient to disturbances (both internal and external) and adaptable to changes in the environment in which they exist. All these characteristics can be observed in biological and social systems.
KeywordsResource Agent Work Package Interface Agent Part Agent Holonic Manufacture System
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