A column generation approach to job grouping
Several authors have stressed the influence of ţool management on the overall performance of automated manufacturing facilities in general, and of flexible manufacturing systems (FMS) in particular (Gray, Seidmann and Stecke, 1988; Kiran and Krason, 1988). An FMS consists of a number of numerically controlled machines, linked by automated material handling devices, that perform the operations required to manufacture parts. The tools required by these operations are stored in a limited capacity tool magazine attached to each machine. An automated tool interchanging device enables the machine to interchange tools very quickly (in seconds). This fast tool interchanging capability avoids costly setups while producing with the tools available in the magazine, and is an essential feature of FMSs. When it becomes necessary to add tools to the tool magazine to allow new operations, the machine sometimes has to be shutdown while the tools are interchanged, after which the machine may resume production. The latter type of setup is time-consuming (it may take up to two hours). The performance of an FMS may therefore be considerably boosted by reducing the occurrences of these setups.
KeywordsColumn Generation Flexible Manufacturing System Lagrangian Relaxation Greedy Heuristic Column Generation Approach
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