This paper presents a cooperative virtual enterprise approach targeting the manufacturing resource sharing among small and medium enterprises. With intelligent agents and Web Services technologies being adopted, the proposed approach possesses a number of distinguishing characteristics, such as loosely-coupled distributed architecture, internal privacy protection, secure separation of information and autonomous operation. An enterprise model, partner search and selection mechanisms, coordination modes and operation monitoring mechanisms are presented in details. The proposed approach emphasizes the enterprise to maximize its profitability, which is always regarded as a higher priority over other concerns.

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