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Multi-degree cyclic scheduling of two robots in a no-wait flowshop

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2 Author(s)
Che, A. ; Lab. d''Optimisation des Syst. Industriels, Univ. de Technol. de Troyes, France ; Chengbin Chu

This paper addresses multi-degree cyclic scheduling of two robots in a no-wait flowshop, where exactly r(r > 1) identical parts with constant processing times enter and leave the production line during each cycle, and transportation of the parts between machines is performed by two robots on parallel tracks. The objective is to minimize the cycle time. The problem is transformed into enumeration of pairs of overlapping moves that cannot be performed by the same robot. This enumeration is accomplished by enumerating intervals for some linear functions of decision variables. The algorithm developed is polynomial in the number of machines for a fixed r, but exponential if r is arbitrary. Computational results with benchmark instances are reported. Note to Practitioners-This paper was motivated by the problem of cyclic scheduling of a no-wait production line, where a part must be processed without any interruption either on or between machines due to characteristics of the processing technology itself or the absences of storage capacity between operations of a part. Multi-degree schedules, in which multiple parts enter and leave the line during a cycle, usually have larger throughput rate than simple ones. This paper proposes an algorithm for multi-degree cyclic scheduling of a no-wait flowshop with two robots. Computational results show that the throughput rate can be really improved by using multi-degree schedules with two robots. However, we have not addressed the decision of the optimal value of the degree of the cycle. Furthermore, since we consider that the two robots travel along parallel tracks, the collision-avoidance constraints have been relaxed in the algorithm. In future research, we will address the two problems and generalize the algorithm to multi-robot cases.

Published in:

Automation Science and Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 2 )