With the recent development of new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), and cloud-based systems, the smart manufacturing concept based on ICT or AI is expected to have tremendous potential to realize a digital transformation with customer involvement in production. The role of production will need to change accordingly, as it is obvious that the traditional business model based on process chains for production functionality has limitations for further growth. In production, it is necessary to consider value chains with service factors for adding innovative value to products. Value creation is an important concept to the realization of a sustainable ecosystem in production.
This special issue addresses the latest research on value creation in production and service systems. Including ten advanced research papers and one development report, it covers a wide range of topics, including smart factories, logistics, distribution with value chains; product service systems; sustainable ecosystems with value in production and service industries; the sharing economy in production systems with cloud computing; the application of digital transformations in production and service systems.
All papers and reports were refereed through careful peer reviews with experts. The editors deeply appreciate the authors for their careful work and the reviewers for their invaluable efforts, without which this special issue would not have been possible. Finally, we hope this special issue provides valuable information to our interested readers and encourages further research on value creation in production.
To realize a competitive product-service system, a manufacturer is required to change its closed business model and develop open and sustainable alliances with external partners. As an alternative business model, an open business model (OBM) is a new concept, replacing the closed model, that is highly dependent on the company’s resources. An OBM is realized via resource sharing and collaboration with external partners. By incorporating an OBM in its operations, a company can receive several benefits, such as long-term profits, by providing new customer value and diversifying risks due to uncertainty in the market environment. A considerable number of studies related to this concept have been conducted. However, a practical method for OBM design remains unavailable. It is therefore difficult to design an OBM via actual design procedures. To this end, the purpose of this study is to support a design for OBMs. To achieve this, eight dimensions of openness in OBMs are first identified. On the basis of these dimensions, the requirements for an OBM design guideline are defined, and the design guideline is proposed. The proposed design guideline includes three steps: requirement analysis, OBM design, and validation. The proposed method was applied in an OBM design workshop, and the usefulness of the design guideline was verified through an evaluation of the eight openness dimensions. Finally, directions for improving the design guideline are discussed as future works.
Product-service systems (PSS), which create value by integrating physical products and services, have received much attention as a promising option to increase manufacturers’ revenue and reduce environmental impact. The process of designing a PSS requires collaboration among various experts who use domain-specific knowledge. Therefore, several researches have been investigated for developing design tools tailored to their expertise. However, while the specialization of design tools can be useful for experts, it hinders companies from ensuring the integrity of design information in different design elements. This results in the failure in achieving expected benefits. To address these issues, this study applies the concept of interoperability to PSS design to integrate design information from different domains. In particular, ontological descriptions is adopted to achieve semantic interoperability in different design elements. The application of the proposed ontology to a lecture on PSS design highlights that the proposed method is effective for integrating information on PSS design elements and those between value creation and capture.
In contemporary society, where changes in the environment surrounding artifacts as well as changes in the purpose and operating conditions of artifacts occur frequently, it is necessary to equip artifacts with resilience and plasticity, and to incorporate this knowledge in the succeeding generation of artifacts. For this purpose, we propose digital twin of artifact systems (DTAS) that focuses on structural materials, from their microstructure to the environment and social systems in which the artifacts are used. The realization of DTAS requires the development of modelling and monitoring technologies from the atomic scale to the social system, the development of technologies to operate these technologies in multiscale in an integrated way, and the development of technologies for model uncertainty assessment. In the future, the information on models and monitoring of artifact systems stored in DTAS is expected to be shared and utilized not only by designers but also among various stakeholders, contributing to the realization of a framework for co-creative development and consensus building through interaction between designers and users.
In Industry 4.0, a network of enterprises and factories is constructed collaboratively and dynamically according to the cyber physical system (CPS) paradigm. It is necessary to build smart supply chains according to this concept. A network of component enterprises in a supply chain would be modeled as a virtual supply chain in the cyber world. From the viewpoint of Industry 4.0, virtualizing a supply chain is the foundation for constructing a CPS for a supply chain. The virtualization of a supply chain makes it easier for companies to study their integrating and expanding opportunities. By using this CPS, comprehensive and autonomous optimization of the supply chain can be achieved. This virtual supply chain can be used to simulate the planning phase with negotiation, as well as the production phase. In this paper, instead of specific mathematical modeling for each supply chain, a general configuration method of a virtual supply chain is proposed. The configuration method of a supply chain model is proposed as a virtual supply chain using enterprise e-catalogues. A virtual supply chain is constructed as a multi-agent system, which is connections of software agents that are automatically created from each selected enterprise model in the e-catalogues. Three types of component enterprise models are provided: manufacturer model, part/material supplier model, and retailer model. Modeling templates for these three types of enterprises are prepared, and each template is a nominal model in terms of enterprise’s behavior. Specific component-enterprise models are prepared by filling the appropriate template. Each component enterprise agent is implemented using the enterprise model selected from the catalogues. Manufacturer, retailer, and supplier e-catalogues, as well as an automatic construction system of a virtual supply chain, are implemented. Methods for developing templates for the manufacturer, retailer and supplier were provided, and the construction system for specific enterprise models (as e-catalogues) is implemented as a trial.
In recent years, the environment surrounding companies has become more challenging. It has become more difficult for many companies in the manufacturing industry to possess all the skills they need, such as production, warehousing, and retailing, so they need to outsource certain skills. In supply chains with several companies, each has an optimal strategy. Specifically, supply chains where the solution is decided through negotiations with their partners are defined as “decentralized supply chains.” In such situations, collaborative relationships are important. One possible approach is replenishment contracts between vendors and buyers under the condition that demand for each buyer is constant. In a buyer-dominated supply chain, because the vendor cannot choose solutions that lower the satisfaction of buyers, it is difficult to change the replenishment intervals. The common replenishment epochs (CRE) strategy is one of the methods used to address this issue. The vendor integrates the buyers’ replenishment timings using CRE and provides a price discount on the products to compensate for the increase in the cost to the buyers. The price discount rate is calculated based on the worst reduction rate in the costs incurred by the buyers based on the economic order quantity (EOQ) model. The optimal CRE and discount rate are decided such that the cost incurred by vendor is minimized. The increased emphasis on the worst reduction rates can potentially lead to biases in buyer satisfaction, and the price discount rate is overestimated. Then, the cost of the vendor increases. Hence, through the negotiations with less satisfied buyers, the vendor changes the CRE so that their satisfaction is improved and the price discount is lower. As a result, the vendor can reduce its cost. This study develops a model to find an improved solution after the negotiations. If satisfaction of multiple players is regarded as multi-objective, a solution of multi-player decision-making is obtained using multi-objective optimization. Linear physical programming (LPP) has been applied as a form of multi-objective optimization, and it is possible to determine the weight coefficients using the preference ranges of the objective functions. In addition, by considering the buyers’ preference levels, the constraints of the discount rates are relaxed and the vendor’s cost can be reduced. Therefore, this study develops a model based on the CRE strategy using LPP.
The need for a sustainable society has grown rapidly. This trend requires new production system concepts following an era of mass customization. As one of these new concepts, “crowdsourced manufacturing” has attracted noticeable attention. In such systems, each participant shares their manufacturing resources for ecosystem co-prosperity, providing new value for the next society. To realize such a concept, it is important to (1) match resource requests and resource offers so as to achieve high efficiency, and (2) induce participants to act in a fair way. Previously, some studies showed production efficiency improvements. Nevertheless, relatively few studies have been conducted on induction mechanisms. The purpose of this study is to develop induction mechanisms for participants. Concerning induction mechanisms, we focus on two viewpoints: (a) matching stability, and (b) “strategyproofness.” These viewpoints are well-known concepts in the market design research field. We previously proposed a resource matching stability analysis method and mechanism for inducing participants to accept matching plans. Formally, a matching method is “strategyproof” when it is a dominant strategy for all participants to submit their true information. However, it is hard to satisfy this condition. Practically, it would be useful to evaluate the strength of an induction, even if the matching method is not strategyproof. In this study, we propose indices for showing the strength of induction (“strength of strategyproofness”). Subsequently, we evaluate matching methods, and show that participants will state false information to maximize their profit in a system with resource matching methods for the profit maximization of the entire system. As the resource providers, they can obtain greater profit by submitting false information regarding resource usage fees. Then, the profits of the resource requesters are unfairly impaired. Furthermore, we propose a new resource matching method, inspired from the “nucleolus” concept in cooperative game theory. The proposed method reduces the maximum dissatisfaction (i.e., profit loss) of resource requesters and resource providers, based on profit sharing. The computational results show that the proposed method induces participants to submit true information, while maintaining high production efficiency.
Exponential technologies, if blended with advantageous conceptual setups, enable innovative developments for Internet-based production ecosystems. The focus of this study is on developing a support mechanism for homeostatic and evolutionary abilities in large-scale production environments. Starting from a reflection on the state-of-the-art, a suitable framework was developed for the conceptualization of Internet-based production ecosystems. Based on augmented context awareness and eco-systemic intelligence, homeostatic and adaptive abilities were designed, and used along with the operational controls to maintain the homeostasis of loads, workflows, and variability, and facilitate the long-term adaptation of the actors. The latter may comprise self-made adaptation of human and digital actors, as well as externally supported modification of functions operated by cyber-agents. The advantage of the proposed solutions is twofold: firstly, stakeholders can improve their performance and adaptability; and secondly, they can also benefit from non-selfish behaviors.
The value or social surplus created by a theatrical drama is determined by the content of the drama, such as the cast, and ticket prices. The desirable cast and suitable ticket price depend on the preferences of the customers; however, in the current theater industry, they are fully determined by the theater company, which has incomplete information on the customer preferences. Therefore, this study proposes an extended auction mechanism that simultaneously addresses theatrical casting and ticket distribution according to the actual customers’ preferences. To achieve this, it presents a mathematical formulation of the theatrical casting problem, and embeds it into the scheduling auction framework. The proposed mechanism maximizes the social surplus brought about by the drama based on the bids gathered from potential customers in an incentive-compatible manner. This study also presents a comparative method that determines the theatrical casting and ticket distribution separately, and solves them in sequence within a shorter calculation time. The numerical experiments show that the proposed method achieves a social surplus that is averagely 29% higher than that of the comparative method. However, the calculation time of the proposed method increases exponentially with the problem scale. In future work, a more computationally efficient mechanism will be required for wider social implementation.
“Value co-creation” among actors related to service provision is one of the key concepts in service design. Living Lab (LL) is a co-creative service design methodology in which designers and users collaboratively design services. In LL, users are actively involved in service design processes over long periods. Because LL is a design methodology based on long-term co-creation with users, its practices involve more direct and indirect communication and collaboration with users than typical service design does. Therefore, in order to make value co-creation successful in LL projects, it is crucial for designers to use not only knowledge of service design methods, but also practical know-how related to “facilitating long-term co-creation with users.” Such know-how is not always shared, however, among LL practitioners, because it is often buried in their experiences. Thus, LL practice currently places heavy reliance on the practitioners’ intuition and experience. Therefore, to support LL practitioners, it is essential to extract key know-how on how to achieve successful LL projects from experienced practitioners, and to describe such know-how. This would allow us to share and reuse know-how in planning and running an LL project. Hence, the purpose of this study is to extract such key know-how for LL practice and describe it in an easy-to-reuse manner. We first developed a workshop to extract key know-how for LL practice. In this study, we held the workshop twice and could extract 30 items of key know-how. Subsequently, we described the extracted key know-how as “patterns” by using the pattern language framework, and we developed a booklet listing the 30 patterns in an easy-to-reuse manner. The booklet can be used by LL practitioners to refer to and reuse the key know-how for LL practice. Through an evaluation, we confirmed that the developed booklet is useful for LL practitioners for referring to and using LL know-how.
This study was conducted to devise a method for supporting consulting service companies in their response to client demands irrespective of the expertise of consultants. With emphasis on revitalization of small and medium-sized enterprises, the importance of support systems for consulting services to serve them is increasing. Those systems must support solutions to difficulties that must be addressed by enterprises. Consulting companies can respond to widely various management consultations. Nevertheless, because the consultation contents are highly specialized, service proposals and problem detection depend on the experience and intuition of the consultant. Often, stable service cannot be provided. A support system must provide stable services independent of the ability of consultants. In this study, analyzing customer information describing the contents of consultation with client companies is the first step in constructing a support system that can predict future problems. Text data such as a consultant’s visit history, consultation contents by e-mail, and contents of call centers are used for analyses because the contents can explain current problems. They might also indicate future problems. This report describes a method to analyze text data using text mining. The target problem is fraud, which includes uncertainty: cases in which it is not clear whether a fraud problem has occurred with the company. To address uncertainty, a method of using logistic regression models is proposed to represent inferred values as probabilities, rather than as binary discriminated data, because the possibility exists that some misidentified companies might have some difficulty. As described herein, computer experiments are conducted to verify the effectiveness of the proposed method and to compare consultants’ forecasted and achieved results. Results of a verification experiment are presented in the following. First, the proposed method is applicable to problems including uncertainties. Secondly, the possibility exists of discovering companies with a fraud problem of which they are unaware.
This study develops a casual smart Na/K meter to measure the sodium and potassium in urine for hypertensive patients. To prevent hypertension from leading to cardiopathies, it is useful to reduce salt intake. The Omron Healthcare Co., Ltd. lunched the prototype, a casual Na/K meter to measure the salt intake from a diet. Nevertheless, it lacks the function to make the patients grasp the historical data. This study improves that meter by adding the NFC and developing the software application linked to Android smartphones and smart watches. Smartphones can store the data and display the historical data. Smart watches make up a part of their daily lives by alerts and messages. The concept of this study provides a continuous value for hypertensive patients. That value is similar to the learning value but it exists beyond the learning effect. For the learning value, after the subjects learn something and obtain the skills, ability, and knowledge, the value is fixed and completed. On the other hand, for the continuous value, the learning value is also included and the subjects receive the learning value; however, they need to continue that behavior until death. If they stop reducing salt intake, they return to hypertension. If they get satisfied with obtaining the learning value and stop their actions, they never receive the continuous value that exists beyond the learning value. The continuous value is brewed in the transtheoretical model of health behavior change. Throughout these stages, to encourage their behavioral change and obtain the continuous value, this study employs Fogg’s theory applied to developing the communication devices. The application stocks the historical data and displays it on the smartphones. The smart watches classify alerts into five colored displays from green (good) to red (bad). It can be helpful for the patients to make the reduction of salt intake as their dietary habit. In the future, the application needs to be improved for making patients adapt with their diets and motivations.
When a three-dimensional shape is machined by NC machine tool, motion errors occur around the motion direction changing points of the translational axis. This has a significant influence on a quality of machined surfaces. Therefore, much research on the influence of motion errors around the motion direction changing points of the feed drive system on a machined surface has been conducted to improve the quality of machined surfaces by NC machine tool. Among the motion errors that occur around the motion direction changing points of the translational axis, quadrant glitches with a stick-slip motion have a particularly large influence on the machined surface, and research on compensation methods continues to be reported. However, the transcriptional characteristics of quadrant glitches of the translational axis for machine tools have not been investigated adequately. In this study, the transcriptional characteristics of quadrant glitches of the translational axis on a machined surface were investigated. In addition, the influences of various factors on the transcriptional characteristics of quadrant glitches on a machined surface were investigated using a proposed equation and actual machining tests.
CAM software is generally used to generate tool paths for 5-axis controlled machining. However, adjusting its several parameters and settings is difficult. We propose a system for tool path generation to be applied to 5-axis controlled machining. The system allows machining movements to be established by manipulating haptic devices in a virtual environment. Therefore, the cutter location for 5-axis machining can be easily controlled by operating a virtual cutting tool. The contact between the cutting tool and the target shape is reflected to the user through the haptic device. The generated path can be converted into a numerical control program for the actual machining of the target object. We detail the implementation of the proposed interface using two haptic devices and a method of tool path generation that improves rough cutting by smoothing the generated cutting points and simplifying the tool postures. The effectiveness of the developed system is confirmed through machining simulations.
In the contoured cutter path computation of a mold part, the Minkowski sum shape of the mold part CAD model and an inverted cutter model is sliced by a horizontal plane at a specific height. The cutter path can be obtained by tracing the boundary curve of the cross-sectional figure in the two-dimensional (2D) square mesh model. In the boundary curve tracing of the square mesh, the 2D marching cubes method based on the classification of the cell pattern of the mesh is typically used. We extended the classification pattern so that the existence of very small shapes in the cell, which is ignored by the conventional 2D marching cubes method, is evaluated in tracing the boundary curve. By using this technology, a robust and accurate contoured cutter path can be obtained without any increase in the computation time.
During aluminum die-casting, tensile residual stress accumulates on the cavity surface of the die by repeated heating and cooling processes. Recently, to improve productivity, dies with high cycle and longer life have become necessary, and reduction or removal of tensile residual stress can be used to prevent heat cracks that cause mold fracture. Heat treatment is often used for residual stress reduction but a more efficient residual stress reduction method that can be carried out with simpler equipment is required. In this study, the relationship between the residual stress after forced vibration and the amplitude at the time of excitation is investigated by mechanical vibration of the SKD61 die materials and the die-casting mold through the application of forced vibration by an eccentric motor. Residual stress on the surface of each test plate treated by the heat treatment and the surface of mold cavity after excitation is evaluated by the X-ray residual stress measurement. It was found that the residual strain after excitation accumulated in compression as the amplitude of oscillation of the specimen became negative. Residual stress in the excitation direction of the specimens increased in the compression direction due to the excitation, demonstrating the effective stress reduction by the excitation method.
The aim of this study is to experimentally determine the solid fraction at the cessation of the flow of a molten Al-Si-Mg alloy (JIS-AC4CH) ceases. In this study, an experimental apparatus to measure the melt temperature during flow was developed and was used to perform highly accurate temperature measurements. An immersion-type optical-fiber radiation thermometer without emissivity correction was used for the temperature measurement device in this apparatus. The solid fraction was calculated from the area of primary crystals when the molten metal at any temperature was quenched. The melt temperature at flow cessation was higher than the eutectic reaction temperature, and the solid fraction in the melt front was approximately 0.2. However, the maximum solid fraction was found at a position slightly away from the melt front toward the pouring gate, and was approximately 0.3. It was inferred for this Al-Si-Mg alloy, that the flow cessation mechanism was a mixture of skin formation and mushy formation types.