Scheduling in Robotic Cells: Classification, Two and Three Machine Cells
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This paper considers the scheduling of operations in a manufacturing cell that repetitively produces a family of similar parts on two or three machines served by a robot. We provide a classification scheme for scheduling problems in robotic cells. We discuss finding the robot move cycle and the part sequence that jointly minimize the production cycle time, or equivalently maximize the throughput rate. For multiple part-type problems in a two-machine cell, we provide an efficient algorithm that simultaneously optimizes the robot move and part sequencing problems. This algorithm is tested computationally. For a three-machine cell with general data and identical parts, we address an important conjecture about the optimality of repeating one-unit cycles, and show that such a procedure dominates more complicated cycles producing two units. For a three-machine cell producing multiple part-types, we prove that four out of the six potentially optimal robot move cycles for producing one unit allow efficient identification of the optimal part sequence. Several efficiently solvable special cases with practical relevance are identified, since the general problem of minimizing cycle time is intractable. Finally, we discuss ways in which a robotic cell converges to a steady state. © 1997 INFORMS.
author list (cited authors)
Hall, N. G., Kamoun, H., & Sriskandarajah, C.