A multilayer network model for the exploratory analysis of production technologies is proposed. To represent the relationship between products, parts, machines, resources, operators, and skills, standardized production and product-relevant data are transformed into a set of bi- and multipartite networks. This representation is beneficial in production flow analysis (PFA) that is used to identify improvement opportunities by grouping similar groups of products, components, and machines. It is demonstrated that the goal-oriented mapping and modularity-based clustering of multilayer networks can serve as a readily applicable and interpretable decision support tool for PFA, and the analysis of the degrees and correlations of a node can identify critically important skills and resources. The applicability of the proposed methodology is demonstrated by a well-documented benchmark problem of a wire-harness production process. The results confirm that the proposed multilayer network can support the standardized integration of production-relevant data and exploratory analysis of strongly interconnected production systems.

Tamás Ruppert, Gergely Honti, János Abonyi, Complexity, 2018