Scheduling and Lot Streaming in Flowshops with No-Wait in Process
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Lot streaming involves splitting a production lot into a number of sublots, in order to allow the overlapping of successive operations, in multi-machine manufacturing systems. In no-wait flowshop scheduling, sublots are necessarily consistent, that is, they remain the same over all machines, The benefits of lot streaming include reductions in lead times and work-in-process, and increases in machine utilization rates. We study the problem of minimizing the makespan in no-wait flowshops producing multiple products with attached setup times, using lot streaming. Our study of the single product problem resolves an open question from the lot streaming literature. The intractable multiple product problem requires finding the optimal number of sublots, sublet sizes, and a product sequence for each machine. We develop a dynamic programming algorithm to generate all the nondominated schedule profiles for each product that are required to formulate the flowshop problem as a generalized traveling salesman problem. This problem is equivalent to a classical traveling salesman problem with a pseudopolynomial number of cities. We develop and computationally test an efficient heuristic for this problem. Our results indicate that solutions can quickly be found for flowshops with up to 10 machines and 50 products. Moreover, the solutions found by our heuristic provide a substantial improvement over previously published results.
author list (cited authors)
Hall, N. G., Laporte, G., Selvarajah, E., & Sriskandarajah, C.
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