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Manufacturing Service Description Language (MSDL) is an OWL-based ontology developed for formal representation of manufacturing services. Development of MSDL started at the PLM Alliance research group at the University of Michigan and its first version was released in fall 2005.It is currently maintained and extended in the INFONEER Research Group at Texas State University under supervision of Farhad Ameri.

MSDL is based on Description Logic (DL) formalism that provides sufficient expressivity and extensibility for manufacturing knowledge modeling. A unique feature of MSDL is that it is built around a service-oriented paradigm, therefore, it can be used constructing temporary supply chains that are composed to fulfill a certain set of required services. MSDL is a highly axiomatic ontology and is considered to be one of the most comprehensive ontologies in manufacturing domain.  MSDL was initially designed to enable automated supplier discovery in distributed environments with focus on mechanical machining services.



Figure 1: One of the earliest concept diagrams of MSDL 

Web Ontology Language (OWL) is selected as the ontology language of MSDL. OWL is recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as the ontology language of the Semantic Web. It uses XML as the syntax language, thus having enough portability, flexibility, and extensibility for web-scale applications. Furthermore, OWL is supported by the Semantic Web (SW), meaning that OWL-based Ontologies can be shared, parsed, and manipulated through open-source web-based tools and technologies. The underlying knowledge modeling formalism of OWL is Description Logics (DL). DL provides formal syntax and semantics for developing information and knowledge models within a domain of interest in terms of concepts, relationships between concepts and logical constraints that concepts must satisfy. Due to its mathematically rigorous formalism, DL supports automated reasoning services such as concept subsumption, concept equivalence, and concept consistency.

Manufacturing Capability Modeling: MSDL is particularly suitable for description of manufacturing capabilities of SMEs. MSDL decomposes manufacturing capability into five levels of abstraction, namely, supplier-level, shop-level, machine-level, device-level, and process-level as shown in Figure 2.


Figure 2: Manufacturing Capability Model for MSDL 


Main Publication:

Farhad Ameri* and Deba Dutta, An Upper Ontology for Manufacturing Service Description, ASME DETC 06, 26th Computers and Information in Engineering Conference (CIE), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA , September 2006 (Citations)


Formal description of die casting machine in MSDL

Figure 3: Formal description of die cast machine in MSDL


Figure 4: Formal description of End Milling process in MSDL