A flexible, automated and integrated system must be able to reply to the market demand, which is, on the short term, very variable and characterized by low production volumes. Such a capability mostly depends on the adaptive and dynamic features of the control software. In fact contemporary software packages for controlling manufacturing systems are proprietary and require an expensive implementation and maintenance effort to fit the changing needs of a specific enterprise in a particular time period. A greater system flexibility is needed, supported by an adaptive and dynamic control software which guarantees a good utilization of the system resources. This paper gives guidelines to design operational control software for a flexible manufacturing system, with generic, flexible and object-oriented features. The object-oriented paradigm allows us to decompose the control software into appropriately interacting standard modules. The decomposition scheme naturally arises from a discrete event dynamic system model of the Flexible Manufacturing System behaviour. Modularity of our formalism is the key factor for achieving reusable and general software.
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