The ability to instantly and successfully interact among technical engineers, management team and machines is vital to the productivity and efficiency of manufacturing shopfloor. Chat messenger with smart mobile has obvious advantages for shopfloor management in group communication, instant notification and remote control. This paper presents a natural-language chat & control HMI for manufacturing shopfloor. The system successfully realizes a smooth two-way communication between users and shopfloor machines. Users can access just-in-time information, receive instant notifications, and remotely control shopfloor machines. All relevant parties can communicate over shopfloor matters in a chat group. The system comprises of four core modules, i.e. Chat Messenger, Chat Service Engine, Control & Communication Engine and Local Command Service. Chat Messenger provides chatting user interface and group management dealing with end-user’s enquiries and notifications via natural language. Chat Service Engine and Control & Communication Engine are two cloud-based service modules, which process questionnaire logic and transmit relevant commands and data bi-directionally between Chat Messenger and Local Command Service. Local Command Service is a local service terminal which implements interfaces and protocols directly interacting with shopfloor machines. It processes the requests and commands from Chat Messenger to shopfloor machines. It also checks real-time machine anomalies and automatically generates corresponding notifications. The system has been implemented in the advanced manufacturing shopfloor at Nanyang Polytechnic. The results and validation show the improvement of manufacturing shopfloor efficiency.

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