John O'Brien, Henry Brice, Schott Hatfield, Wayne P. Johnson, and Richard Woodhead
The Ford Motor Company Direct Labor Management System (DLMS) is one major subsystem in a multiphase Manufacturing Process Planning System (MPPS) intended to assist in all aspects of the manufacturing planning process. DLMS plays a central role by automatically generating detailed plant-floor assembly instructions from high level structured English descriptions and by providing consistent and accurate estimates of the associated labor times. Much of DLMS design was inspired by CONSUL [Mark 81], a system which uses classification- based reasoning in the process of interpreting natural language requests for interactive computing services. The kernel of the DLMS system is a large knowledge base of automotive assembly expertise constructed and maintained by the end-user engineering community. The central Knowledge Base Management System (KBMS) is a classification- based terminological reasoning system implemented on the NIKL model. The KBMS is tightly coupled with a natural language component which interprets the surface language process description and maps it into a set of standard atomic assembly instructions within the knowledge base. The resulting instruction set forms the basis of a knowledge based simulation which generates any auxiliary work elements necessitated by this process script.