A minimal-invasive approach to configuration management supporting collaborative factory configuration scenarios

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Collaboration is not only an issue for geographically or temporally dispersed engineering teams jointly working on the development of products or manufacturing facilities. It is also an important issue for the operation of production lines. One task that requires close collaboration is the setup of the configuration data for the production line—the manufacturing specification data. They lay the foundations for automation scenarios on all levels of the automation hierarchy, starting from the single production equipment up to the complete production line. Even complex business rules and logistics strategies are supported by corresponding configuration data. Typically, these data are distributed over a large number of IT systems. Groups of people from different departments account for the correctness and completeness of these data. A complete, correct and consistent set of manufacturing specification data is an important precondition for production lines to run in the optimal working point. This is especially true in highly automated environments that provide a high level of flexibility. Within this paper a new, minimal-invasive approach to configuration management is presented that helps to overcome the collaboration issues.

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